Living near greenness is associated with higher bone strength: A large cross-sectional epidemiological study in China

Ye Jiang, Bai Ma Kang Zhuo, Bing Guo, Pei Bin Zeng, Yu Ming Guo, Gong Bo Chen, Jing Wei, Rui Feng He, Zhi Feng Li, Xue Hui Zhang, Zi Yun Wang, Xuan Li, Lei Wang, Chun Mei Zeng, Lin Chen, Xiong Xiao, Xing Zhao, on behalf of the China MultiEthnic Cohort (CMEC) collaborative group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Living near green spaces may benefit various health outcomes. However, no studies have investigated the greenness-bone linkage in the general population. Moreover, to which extent ambient air pollution (AAP), physical activity (PA), and body mass index (BMI) mediate this relationship remains unclear. We aimed to explore the association between greenness and bone strength and the potential mediating roles of AAP, PA, and BMI in Chinese adults. Methods: This cross-sectional analysis enrolled 66,053 adults from the China Multi-Ethnic Cohort in 2018–2019. The normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) and enhanced vegetation index (EVI) were employed to define residential greenness. The calcaneus quantitative ultrasound index (QUI) was used to indicate bone strength. Multiple linear regression models and mediation analyses were used to estimate the residential greenness-bone strength association and potential pathways operating through AAP (represented by PM2.5 [particulate matter <2.5 μm in diameter]), PA, and BMI. Stratification analyses were performed to identify susceptible populations. Results: Higher residential exposure to greenness was significantly associated with an increase in QUI, with changes (95% confidence interval) of 3.28 (3.05, 3.50), 3.57 (3.34, 3.80), 2.68 (2.46, 2.90), and 2.93 (2.71, 3.15) for every interquartile range increase in NDVI500m, NDVI1000m, EVI500m, and EVI1000m, respectively. Sex, urbanicity, annual family income, smoking, and drinking significantly modified the association of greenness-bone strength, with more remarkable associations in males, urban residents, subjects from wealthier families, smokers, and drinkers. For the NDVI500m/EVI500m-QUI relationship, the positive mediating roles of PM2.5 and PA were 6.70%/8.50 and 2.43%/2.69%, respectively, whereas those negative for BMI and PA-BMI were 0.88%/1.06% and 0.05%/0.05%, respectively. Conclusion: Living in a greener area may predict higher bone strength, particularly among males, urban residents, wealthier people, smokers, and drinkers. AAP, PA, BMI, and other factors may partially mediate the positive association. Our findings underscore the importance of optimizing greenness planning and management policies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number155393
Number of pages10
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jul 2022


  • Ambient air pollution
  • Body mass index
  • Bone health
  • Green space
  • Mediation analyses
  • Physical activity

Cite this