PEOPLE escaping the city to make a tree change could be making a wise decision for their long-term health.
Green spaces and increasing the number of urban trees could lower dementia risk, according to University of Southern Queensland professor Khorshed Alam.
His comments follow the release of a study by PhD student Rezwanul Haque that showed that city people are more likely to develop dementia compared to their regional counterparts.
Using the latest available data from the Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers (SDAC), a nationally representative database collected by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), Haque’s study found that in the three years between 2015 and 2018 there was an 11 per cent increase in dementia among people living in cities, while there was a 21 per cent decrease in dementia among people living in regional and remote areas during the same period. The study has been published in science journal PLOS One.
This will will drive up dementia rates even more and put more pressure on families, health care systems and communities,” he said.
Professor Alam, who was Haque’s supervisor and a co-author in the study, said environmental factors could be the reason why people in major cities are at greater risk of developing dementia.
“Earlier research identified chronic noise exposure, air pollution and a paucity of green space as probable risk factors for cognition reduction, which are more prevalent in metropolitan areas,” he said.
Professor Alam said policymakers should take note of the findings to come up with solutions to deal with the disease, such as providing healthier environments that encourage physical activity, social interaction and network building while simultaneously reducing air pollution.
It’s perhaps no surprise then that people are flocking to the Redlands.
This area boasts hectares of open space, bay walks and a multitude of different parks and reserves.
For a range of activities, from bush walking to visiting parks and more, check out Council’s website.