Study: Lack of Green, Blue Spaces in Urban Communities Negatively Impacts Quality of Life for Those With COPD

Study shows the benefit of green and blue spaces for individuals with COPD living in urban communities.

More air pollution and a greater distance from green or blue spaces negatively impacts the quality of life of individuals with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a study by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) finds.

"We know that several clinical and psychological factors can affect this parameter, but little is known on the effect of environmental factors," said lead investigator Judith Garcia-Aymerich, a ISGlobal researcher, in a press release.

The lack of prior research assessing the impact of environmental factors on patients with COPD was the driving factor behind the development of a study that assesses the association between health-related quality of life and exposure to different environmental factors.

The study, which focused on individuals with COPD living in Barcelona, highlights the need for implementing urban policies that help improve quality of life. The study results showed that higher levels of NO2 and PM2.5absorbance were associated with worse COPD and mental health assessment scores of individuals.

"This might be explained by the restorative effect of blue and green spaces, although it could also be related to the fact that these spaces encourage greater physical activity," said first author Subhabrata Moitra, PhD, in the press release.

The investigators also offered recommendations for individuals living with COPD, such as avoiding traffic zones or living closer to green and blue spaces, as well as calls for urban cities to limit air pollution in order to enhance the quality of life for those with respiratory diseases across the world.

“This study, performed for the first time on a Mediterranean population, provides evidence that air pollutants (particularly NO2 and black carbon) and the distance to green or blue spaces negatively affects the health-related quality of life in COPD patients," Garcia-Aymerich said in the press release.

Reference

Less air pollution and more access to green or blue spaces: a recipe to improve the life quality of people with COPD. ScienceDaily. News release. September 2, 2021. Accessed September 3, 2021. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/09/210902125034.htm