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Parks, Gardens Boost Birthweight, Study

Update Date: Jul 28, 2014 04:09 PM EDT

Living near green spaces could boost birth weight, according to a new study on pregnant women.

Researchers found that mothers who live near parks and nature delivered babies with significantly heavier babies compared to moms who didn't live near green spaces.

The latest study involved data from nearly 40,000 single live births from a registry birth cohort in Tel Aviv, Israel. Researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) wanted to see if green spaces provided any significant pregnancy and birth outcome benefits.

"We found that that overall, an increase of surrounding greenery near the home was associated with a significant increase of birth weight and decreased risk for low birth weight," Professor Michael Friger, of Ben-Gurion University's Department of Public Health said in a news release. "This was the first study outside of the United States and Europe demonstrating associations between greenery and birth weight, as well as the first to report the association with low birth weight."

Researchers found that the lowest birth weights occurred in the most economically deprived areas with lack of access to green spaces like parks, gardens, or cemeteries.

"The application of remote sensing data on surrounding green areas enabled our study to take small-scale green spaces (eg, street trees and green verges) into account, while the OpenStreetMap data determined the major green spaces," Friger concluded.

The findings are published in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

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