(HealthDay News) — Maternal proximity to green spaces is associated with increased birth weight, according to a study published in Occupational & Environmental Medicine.

Keren Agay-Shay, PhD, from the Center for Research in Environmental Epidemiology in Barcelona, Spain, and colleagues examined the correlations between proximity to green spaces and surrounding greenness and pregnancy outcomes. Data were obtained from 39,132 singleton live births from a registry birth cohort in Tel Aviv, Israel, during 2000–2006. Greenness was defined as the average of Normalized Difference Vegetation Index in 250m buffers.

The researchers observed a significant increase in birth weight (19.2g) and a significant decrease in the risk of low birth weight (odds ratio, 0.84) with an one-interquartile range increase in surrounding greenness. A decrease was seen in very low birth weight, but the correlation was not statistically significant. There were no correlations seen for gestational age, preterm deliveries, and very preterm deliveries. Consistent results were seen for different buffer and green space sizes. The correlations were stronger for those of lower socioeconomic status.

“This study confirms the results of a few previous studies demonstrating an association between maternal proximity to green spaces and birth weight,” the authors write.

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