A new Australian study has found that communities with a healthy amount of tree cover—not just grass and green space—were psychologically healthier than those that didn’t.
Specifically, people in urban areas have a lower risk of developing psychological distress and better overall health if they have more trees within a walkable distance from their homes, says the study from the University of Wollongong (UOW).
In neighborhoods with a tree canopy of 30% or more, adults had 31% lower odds of developing psychological distress, and 33% lower odds of rating their general health as “fair” or “poor” over six years.
Urban green spaces with open grass rather than a tree canopy did not deliver the same benefits.
The study was published in JAMA Network Open tracked the changes in health of around 46,000 people aged 45 and older living in Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong.