The health effects of a forest environment on subclinical cardiovascular disease and heath-related quality of life

Tsung Ming Tsao, Ming Jer Tsai, Ya Nan Wang, Heng Lun Lin, Chang Fu Wu, Jing Shiang Hwang, Sandy H J Hsu, Hsing Chao, Kai Jen Chuang, Charles C K Chou, Ta Chen Su

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Assessment of health effects of a forest environment is an important emerging area of public health and environmental sciences. Purpose: To demonstrate the long-term health effects of living in a forest environment on subclinical cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) compared with that in an urban environment. Materials and Methods: This study included the detailed health examination and questionnaire assessment of 107 forest staff members (FSM) and 114 urban staff members (USM) to investigate the long-term health effects of a forest environment. Air quality monitoring between the forest and urban environments was compared. In addition, work-related factors and HRQOL were evaluated. Results: Levels of total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and fasting glucose in the USM group were significantly higher than those in the FSM group. Furthermore, a significantly higher intima-media thickness of the internal carotid artery was found in the USM group compared with that in the FSM group. Concentrations of air pollutants, such as NO, NO2, NOx, SO2, CO, PM2.5, and PM10 in the forest environment were significantly lower compared with those in the outdoor urban environment. Working hours were longer in the FSM group; however, the work stress evaluation as assessed by the job content questionnaire revealed no significant differences between FSM and USM. HRQOL evaluated by the World Health Organization Quality of Life-BREF questionnaire showed FSM had better HRQOL scores in the physical health domain. Conclusions: This study provides evidence of the potential beneficial effects of forest environments on CVDs and HRQOL.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere103231
JournalPLoS One
Volume9
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 28 2014

Keywords

  • cardiovascular disease
  • environmental temperature

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)

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