Residential Surrounding Greenness, Self-Rated Health and Interrelations with Aspects of Neighborhood Environment and Social Relations

J Urban Health. 2017 Apr;94(2):158-169. doi: 10.1007/s11524-016-0112-3.


Previous research suggests that green environments positively influence health. Several underlying mechanisms have been discussed; one of them is facilitation of social interaction. Further, greener neighborhoods may appear more aesthetic, contributing to satisfaction and well-being. Aim of this study was to analyze the association of residential surrounding greenness with self-rated health, using data from 4480 women and men aged 45-75 years that participated in the German population-based Heinz Nixdorf Recall study. We further aimed to explore the relationships of greenness and self-rated health with the neighborhood environment and social relations. Surrounding greenness was measured using the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) within 100 m around participants' residence. As a result, we found that with higher greenness, poor self-rated health decreased (adjusted OR 0.90, 95% CI 0.82-0.98; per 0.1 increase in NDVI), while neighborhood satisfaction (1.41, 1.23-1.61) and neighborhood social capital (1.22, 1.12-1.32) increased. Further, we observed inverse associations of neighborhood satisfaction (0.70, 0.52-0.94), perceived safety (0.36, 0.22-0.60), social satisfaction (0.43, 0.31-0.58), and neighborhood social capital (0.53, 0.44-0.64) with poor self-rated health. These results underline the importance of incorporating green elements into neighborhoods for health-promoting urban development strategies.

Keywords: NDVI; Neighborhood satisfaction; Self-rated health; Social capital; Surrounding greenness.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Environment*
  • Female
  • Germany
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Personal Satisfaction
  • Plants*
  • Residence Characteristics / statistics & numerical data*
  • Self Report
  • Social Environment*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Urban Health*