The relationship between green space exposure and longevity

Dec 28, 2023

Greater exposure to neighbourhood green space is initially linked to longer telomeres, indicating potential health benefits. However, this association diminishes when considering additional factors like air pollution and neighbourhood deprivation, underscoring the complex interaction between environmental influences and genetic health.

December 2023 – Science Direct


Key takeaways


  • Green space and telomere length: Residing in neighbourhoods with abundant green spaces, such as parks and gardens, correlates with longer telomeres. This suggests that exposure to natural environments may have a protective effect on cellular structures that are crucial for ageing and overall health
  • Influence of environmental factors: While green space shows initial promise in supporting longer telomeres, this effect is less pronounced when considering environmental pollutants like air quality. This indicates that negative environmental exposures can offset the benefits of green space
  • Neighbourhood context matters: The health advantages linked to green space are not solely determined by the presence of green areas. They are also significantly affected by the overall context of the neighbourhood, including factors like economic deprivation and the level of environmental contaminants. This underscores the importance of a comprehensive approach to urban planning and public health


The findings emphasise a multifaceted interaction between environmental factors and genetic indicators of ageing. This complexity suggests that understanding the impact of our surroundings on ageing and longevity requires considering a wide range of environmental, social, and genetic factors.


Read the article at: Bates, D., et al. “The Relationship Between Greenspace Exposure and Telomere Length in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.” Science of The Total Environment, vol. 167452, 2023,