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      Approaching Environmental Health Disparities and Green Spaces: An Ecosystem Services Perspective

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          Abstract

          Health disparities occur when adverse health conditions are unequal across populations due in part to gaps in wealth. These disparities continue to plague global health. Decades of research suggests that the natural environment can play a key role in sustaining the health of the public. However, the influence of the natural environment on health disparities is not well-articulated. Green spaces provide ecosystem services that are vital to public health. This paper discusses the link between green spaces and some of the nation’s leading health issues such as obesity, cardiovascular health, heat-related illness, and psychological health. These associations are discussed in terms of key demographic variables—race, ethnicity, and income. The authors also identify research gaps and recommendations for future research.

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          Most cited references126

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          Promoting ecosystem and human health in urban areas using Green Infrastructure: A literature review

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            Heat stress and public health: a critical review.

            Heat is an environmental and occupational hazard. The prevention of deaths in the community caused by extreme high temperatures (heat waves) is now an issue of public health concern. The risk of heat-related mortality increases with natural aging, but persons with particular social and/or physical vulnerability are also at risk. Important differences in vulnerability exist between populations, depending on climate, culture, infrastructure (housing), and other factors. Public health measures include health promotion and heat wave warning systems, but the effectiveness of acute measures in response to heat waves has not yet been formally evaluated. Climate change will increase the frequency and the intensity of heat waves, and a range of measures, including improvements to housing, management of chronic diseases, and institutional care of the elderly and the vulnerable, will need to be developed to reduce health impacts.
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              Role of built environments in physical activity, obesity, and cardiovascular disease.

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Role: Academic Editor
                Role: Academic Editor
                Role: Academic Editor
                Role: Academic Editor
                Journal
                Int J Environ Res Public Health
                Int J Environ Res Public Health
                ijerph
                International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
                MDPI
                1661-7827
                1660-4601
                10 February 2015
                February 2015
                : 12
                : 2
                : 1952-1968
                Affiliations
                USDA Forest Service, Southern Research Station, Integrating Human and Natural Systems, 320 Green Street, Athens, GA 30602, USA; E-Mail: cjohnson09@ 123456fs.fed.us
                Author notes
                [†]

                These authors contributed equally to this work.

                [* ]Author to whom correspondence should be addressed; E-Mail: vjennings02@ 123456fs.fed.us ; Tel.: +1-706-559-4274; Fax: +1-706-559-4266.
                Article
                ijerph-12-01952
                10.3390/ijerph120201952
                4344703
                25674782
                8e3fa6df-8233-4297-8b32-4c1699d652ab
                © 2015 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

                This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

                Categories
                Article

                Public health
                environmental health disparities,ecosystem services,green space,urban health,nature,parks

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