The relationship between greenspace exposure and telomere length in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey


The exposome, reflecting the range of environmental exposures individuals encounter throughout their life, can influence a variety of health outcomes and can play a role in how the environment impacts our genes. Telomeres, genetic structures regulating cell growth and senescence, are one pathway through which the exposome may impact health. Greenspace exposure, representing the amount of green areas in one’s neighborhood, is one component of the exposome and has been associated with multiple health benefits. To investigate the potential link between greenspace exposure and telomere length, we analyzed data from the 1999–2001 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) sample. Our study examined individual, risk, and contextual factors. We found that greater greenspace exposure in one’ s neighborhood was associated with longer telomere lengths when considering individual and risk factors, suggesting a positive effect of living in greener neigh- borhoods. However, this relationship became non-significant when contextual factors, such as air pollution and deprivation, were included in the analysis. These findings highlight a complex relationship between greenspace and telomere length, warranting further research to explore contextual factors in detail.

Science of the Total Environment
Scott Ogletree
Scott Ogletree
Lecturer in Landscape and Wellbeing