Greenness around schools associated with lower risk of hypertension among children: Findings from the Seven Northeastern Cities Study in China

Xiang Xiao, Bo-Yi Yang, Li-Wen Hu, Iana Markevych, Michael S. Bloom, Shyamali C. Dharmage, Bin Jalaludin, Luke D. Knibbs, Joachim Heinrich, Lidia Morawska, Shao Lin, Marjut Roponen, Yuming Guo, Steve Hung Lam Yim, Ari Leskinen, Mika Komppula, Pasi Jalava, Hong-Yao Yu, Mohammed Zeeshan, Xiao-Wen ZengGuang-Hui Dong

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Evidence suggests that residential greenness may be protective of high blood pressure, but there is scarcity of evidence on the associations between greenness around schools and blood pressure among children. We aimed to investigate this association in China. Our study included 9354 children from 62 schools in the Seven Northeastern Cities Study. Greenness around each child's school was measured by NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index) and SAVI (Soil-Adjusted Vegetation Index). Particulate matter ≤ 1 μm (PM 1) concentrations were estimated by spatiotemporal models and nitrogen dioxide (NO 2) concentrations were collected from air monitoring stations. Associations between greenness and blood pressure were determined by generalized linear and logistic mixed-effect models. Mediation by air pollution was assessed using mediation analysis. Higher greenness was consistently associated with lower blood pressure. An increase of 0.1 in NDVI corresponded to a reduction in SBP of 1.39 mmHg (95% CI: 1.86, −0.93) and lower odds of hypertension (OR = 0.76, 95% CI: 0.69, 0.82). Stronger associations were observed in children with higher BMI. Ambient PM 1 and NO 2 mediated 33.0% and 10.9% of the association between greenness and SBP, respectively. In summary, greater greenness near schools had a beneficial effect on blood pressure, particularly in overweight or obese children in China. The associations might be partially mediated by air pollution. These results might have implications for policy makers to incorporate more green space for both aesthetic and health benefits.
Original languageEnglish
Article number113422
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020


  • Blood pressure
  • Greenness
  • Hypertension
  • Mediation
  • Modification

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