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Title: The associations between greenspace exposure and health
Author: Twohig-Bennett, Caoimhe
ISNI:       0000 0004 7973 2107
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2018
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The health benefits of greenspace have commanded the attention of researchers, policymakers and health practitioners since the 1800s, although the overall impact of greenspace on population disease burden is unknown. Indeed, there is a paucity of research investigating the potential mechanisms underlying the relationship between greenspace and health. There are the gaps in the literature than this thesis sets out to address. It presents a systematic review and meta-analysis of greenspace exposure and physical health outcomes. Following the inclusion of 143 papers investigating the relationship between greenspace and health outcomes, 24 novel meta-analyses were conducted, finding associations between greenspace exposure and health outcomes including significantly reduced incidence of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, as well as reductions in salivary cortisol and diastolic blood pressure. The subsequent chapters investigate the mechanisms underlying the relationship between greenspace and health. Based on existing evidence it is hypothesised that increased greenspace exposure may increase exposure to a diverse range of microbiota, thereby improving immunoregulatory and inflammatory processes, the first study investigates the relationship between neighbourhood greenspace exposure and gut microbial diversity using data from the TwinsUK dataset. No associations were found, but as greenspace exposure may be associated with inflammatory markers through a pathway other than microbial exposure, two subsequent studies set out to investigate the association between neighbourhood greenspace exposure and markers of inflammation using data from the EPIC Norfolk cohort and pooled data from the Leicester Diabetes Centre. No significant relationships between greenspace and inflammatory biomarkers were found in either, suggesting greenspace exposure is associated with wide ranging health benefits, but further research is required to understand the mechanisms underlying this association. Future focus on the development of datasets measuring greenspace use would further enhance the field.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available