Neighbourhood natural space and the narrowing of socioeconomic inequality in years of life lost: a cross-sectional ecological analysis of the Scottish Burden of Disease

Nicholls, N. , Caryl, F. , Olsen, J. R. and Mitchell, R. (2022) Neighbourhood natural space and the narrowing of socioeconomic inequality in years of life lost: a cross-sectional ecological analysis of the Scottish Burden of Disease. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 76(12), pp. 976-983. (doi: 10.1136/jech-2022-219111) (PMID:36253097) (PMCID:PMC9664125)

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Abstract

Background: Natural space is associated with reduced risk of, and narrower socioeconomic inequalities in, diseases that affect older populations, and some contributors to premature mortality in younger individuals. Burden of disease measures such as years of life lost (YLL) are influenced by premature poor health and death. We hypothesised some association between natural space and both rates of and inequalities in YLL might be present. Methods: The outcome data were the YLL component from Scottish Burden of Disease 2016, provided at small-area level (datazone) for males and females under 65 years of age in Scotland, UK. Exposure variables were the percentages of land cover within each datazone defined as ‘natural space’ (NS), and ‘natural space and private gardens’ (NSG). Together with a measure of area income deprivation, these were fitted in a multilevel Poisson model accounting for intra-datazone level variation, and spatial autocorrelation between datazones. Results: An increased percentage cover of NSG was associated with lower YLL in males (incident rate ratio (IRR) 0.993, 95% credible interval (CrI) 0.989 to 0.997) and females (IRR 0.993, CrI 0.987 to 0.998); each 10% increase of natural space cover was associated with a 7% decrease in the incidence rate. An increased amount of natural space within local areas was associated with reduced disparity in YLL between the most and least income deprived areas. Conclusions: The health benefits of natural space also apply when indicators sensitive to health events at younger ages are used. An increased amount of natural space within local areas has the potential to reduce the disparity in YLL between the most and least income deprived areas—the ‘equigenic’ effect.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:Funding: This work was supported by the Medical Research Council [grant number: MC_UU_00022/4] and Chief Scientist Office [grant number: SPHSU19]; FC is supported by an MRC Skills Development Fellowship [MR/T027789/1].
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Olsen, Dr Jonathan and Mitchell, Professor Rich and Caryl, Dr Fiona and Nicholls, Dr Natalie
Authors: Nicholls, N., Caryl, F., Olsen, J. R., and Mitchell, R.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > MRC/CSO SPHSU
Journal Name:Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health
Publisher:BMJ Publishing Group
ISSN:0143-005X
ISSN (Online):1470-2738
Published Online:17 October 2022
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2022 The Authors
First Published:First published in Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 76(12): 976-983
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
3048231Places and healthRich MitchellMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_00022/4HW - MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit
3048231Places and healthRich MitchellOffice of the Chief Scientific Adviser (CSO)SPHSU19HW - MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit
308037Do gender-differences in access to urban landscapes lead to gender-inequalities in mental and physical health?Fiona CarylMedical Research Council (MRC)MR/T027789/1HW - MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit