Investigating the association between regeneration of urban blue spaces and risk of incident chronic health conditions stratified by neighbourhood deprivation: a population-based retrospective study, 2000-2018

Zoe Tieges, Michail Georgiou, Niamh Smith, Gordon Morison, Sebastien Chastin

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Abstract

Chronic non-communicable diseases are leading causes of poor health and mortality worldwide, disproportionately affecting people in highly deprived areas. We undertook a population-based, retrospective study of 137,032 residents in Glasgow, Scotland, to investigate the association between proximity to urban blue spaces and incident chronic health conditions during a canal regeneration programme. Hazard ratios (HRs) were estimated using Cox proportional hazards models adjusted for age and sex, with the incidence of a given health condition as the dependent variable. The analyses were stratified by socio-economic deprivation tertiles. We found that, in areas in the highest deprivation tertile, proximity to blue space was associated with a lower risk of incident cardiovascular disease (HR 0.85, 95% Confidence Interval (CI) 0.76-0.95), hypertension (HR 0.85, 95% CI 0.79-0.92), diabetes (HR 0.88, 95% CI 0.83-0.94), stroke (HR 0.85, 95% CI 0.77-0.94) and obesity (HR 0.90, 95% CI 0.86-0.94), but not chronic pulmonary disease, after adjusting for age and sex covariates. In middle and low deprivation tertiles, living closer to the canal was associated with a higher risk of incident chronic pulmonary disease (middle: HR 1.56, 95% CI 1.24-1.97, low: HR 1.34, 95% CI 1.05-1.73). Moreover, in the middle deprivation tertile, a higher risk of stroke (HR 1.36, 95% CI 1.02-1.81) and obesity (HR 1.14, 95% CI 1.01-1.29) was observed. We conclude that exposure to blue infrastructure could be leveraged to mitigate some of the health inequalities in cities.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 7 Jan 2022

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