New research may have found that people who live near national parks are healthier. So if you’re looking to relocate, a near-nature area is the way to go!

Researchers from the Oregon State University looked at the benefits of living near protected nature spaces. But this research didn’t just review any parks or nature reserves. Instead, the study focused on protected multi-use green spaces—meaning that anyone who lives nearby has access to the area’s natural resources.

photo: Lukas Kloeppel via Pexels 

So what did the researchers find? It looks like the multi-use spaces are key to getting the benefits of natural resource areas. Environmental anthropologist at Oregon State University and study co-author, Drew Gerkey, told Travel and Leisure, “The multiple-use areas are where you see a lot of the positive impacts for people’s health and wealth.” Gerkey went on to add, “The boundaries are relaxed in a way that allows local people to access resources but doesn’t impinge on the larger goal of conservation.”

If you’re looking for more pros of moving to a nature-rich area, new research points to the risks of living near major roads/highways. Along with the obvious traffic safety issues, research from the National Institutes of Health and the University of California, Merced found that children living close to major roadways (and the air pollution caused by cars and other vehicles) may suffer developmentally.

When researchers reviewed data on pregnancy, prenatal pollutant exposure and later child development, they found that young kiddos living close to major roads were twice as likely to score lower in communication skill tests. That is, in comparison to those who lived farther away from major traffic areas.

Health, wealth and a safer fam? It looks like it’s nature reserves and national parks for the win!

—Erica Loop



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