Do People Have Healthier Lifestyles in Greener Environments? An Analysis of the Association between Green Environments and Physical Activity in Seven Large Korean Cities
Ji-Young Park, Hee-Kang Shin, Jeong-Soon Choi, Hyung-Seok Oh, Kyung-Hyun Choi, Sang Min Park, Belong Cho*
Department of Family Medicine, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
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Background: Recent studies suggest that neighborhood environments influence levels of health and disease in individuals. Evidence suggests that green environments have positive effects on physical and psychological health. In this study,
we examined the association between public park per person (PPP) and physical activity in 7 large Korean cities with a population of over 1 million.
Methods: We obtained data from the third Korea National Health and Nutritional Survey and data on the area of PPP from the Korean national statistics office.
Results: Physical activity and adjusted mean of physical activity increased significantly with PPP. When stratified by family income, physical activity increased significantly in all groups in a PPP-dependent manner. Physical activity significantly increased as PPP increased (coefficient, 16.025; 95% confidence interval, 12.392 to 19.658) before and after adjustment for age, sex, and family income. Physical activity increased in all income groups including the low income group.
Conclusion: These results show that green park spaces independently promote physical activity and influence healthy lifestyles. Therefore, the importance of PPP for physical activity and health should be emphasized in urban planning.