Urban Fold

Tree Cover Linked with Healthier Babies

A study of tree cover and pregnant women suggests that women living in areas with more trees are less likely to give birth to undersized babies.

The study looked at nearly 6,000 women and satellite imagery of the tree cover around their homes.

"Tree cover made no difference in the rate of pre-term births, but researchers found a consistent link to the prevalence of infants who were small for their gestational age. For each 10 percent increase in tree coverage within about 50 yards of a home, the rate of undersized newborns decreased by 1.42 per 1000 births. As it stands, about 70 of every 1,000 newborns in Portland are small for gestational age.

'Maybe it sounds a bit daft at first,' says lead author Geoffrey Donovan, a scientist with the U.S. Forest Service's Pacific Northwest Research Station in Portland. But he says it's plausible that having lots of trees nearby counteracts the stress experienced by pregnant women."

Full Story: More trees in a city bring surprising benefit, Portland study finds

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