Community greenness, blood pressure, and hypertension in urban dwellers: The 33 Communities Chinese Health Study

Bo Yi Yang, Iana Markevych, Michael S. Bloom, Joachim Heinrich, Yuming Guo, Lidia Morawska, Shyamali C. Dharmage, Luke D. Knibbs, Bin Jalaludin, Pasi Jalava, Xiao Wen Zeng, Li Wen Hu, Kang Kang Liu, Guang Hui Dong

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93 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Living in greener areas has many health benefits, but evidence concerning the effects on blood pressure remains mixed. We sought to assess associations between community greenness and both blood pressure and hypertension in Chinese urban dwellers, and whether the associations were mediated by air pollution, body mass index, and physical activity. Methods: We analyzed data from 24,845 adults participating in the 33 Communities Chinese Health Study, which was conducted in Northeastern China during 2009. We measured each participant's blood pressure according to a standardized protocol. We assessed community greenness using two satellite-derived vegetation indexes – the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and the Soil Adjusted Vegetation Index (SAVI). Particulate matter ≤2.5 μm and nitrogen dioxide were used as proxies of ambient air pollution. We applied generalized linear mixed models to investigate the association between greenness and blood pressure. We also performed mediation analyses. Results: Living in greener areas was associated with lower blood pressure and hypertension prevalence; an interquartile range increase in both NDVI 500-m and SAVI 500-m were significantly associated with reductions in systolic blood pressure of 0.82 mm Hg (95% CI: −1.13, −0.51) and 0.89 mm Hg (95% CI: −1.21, −0.57), respectively. The same increases in greenness were also significantly associated with a 5% (95% CI: 1%, 8%) and 5% (95% CI: 1%, 9%) lower odds of having hypertension, respectively. These associations remained consistent in sensitivity analyses. The associations were stronger among women than men. Air pollutants and body mass index partly mediated the associations, but there was no evidence of mediation effects for physical activity. Conclusions: Our findings indicate beneficial associations between community greenness and blood pressure in Chinese adults, especially for women. Air pollution and body mass index only partly mediated the associations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)727-734
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironment International
Publication statusPublished - May 2019


  • Blood pressure
  • Chinese adults
  • Cross-sectional study
  • Greenness
  • Hypertension
  • Mediation

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