Association between Residential Green Space and Body Composition in the Elderly
21 Pages Posted: 4 Aug 2022
Green spaces are lands that are partly or completely covered with grass, trees, or other vegetation. They include parks, community gardens, and cemeteries. Such spaces promote physical activity, psychological well-being, and the overall health of urban residents. Loss of skeletal muscle mass increases with aging and can cause morbidity and mortality in the elderly population. This study aimed to assess the effects of residential green spaces on the body composition in the elderly.A cross-sectional health examination was conducted in five hospitals in Taiwan for 1,356 elderly individuals between 2016 and 2018 (aged ≥ 65). Body composition was measured using bioelectrical impedance analysis. Residential greenness was estimated using two indices: the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) and land-use investigation in Taiwan. We calculated the percentage of green space (parks and forests) and NDVI annual average within 500 m of each participant’s residence. Multiple linear regression was used to determine the association between residential green spaces and body composition in the elderly after adjusting for demographics, personal habits, and physician-diagnosed diseases.After adjusting, park area (in %) was associated with higher skeletal muscle mass (β = 0.09 (SE = 0.04), p = 0.04) in elderly men, but it had a negative relationship with body fat mass (β = -0.2 (SE = 0.1), p = 0.04) and body fat percentage (β = -0.58 (SE = 0.22), p = 0.01) in elderly women. No such association was found between the NDVI and body composition. The frequency of physical activity changes the observed effect of park area on body fat percentage in elderly women. These findings suggest that residential parks are beneficial for improving body fat mass in elderly women and skeletal muscle mass in elderly men.
Keywords: park, forest, NDVI, body composition, elderly
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