Counties with more trees spend less on Medicare

 

DIANA YATES  | LIFE SCIENCES EDITOR, U. OF I. NEWS BUREAU shared with Children and Nature Newsletter that a new study finds that Medicare costs tend to be lower in counties with more forests and shrublands than in counties dominated by other types of land cover. The relationship persists even when accounting for economic, geographic or other factors that might independently influence health care costs, researchers report.

The analysis included county-level health and environmental data from 3,086 of the 3,103 counties in the continental U.S.

Urban and rural counties with the lowest socioeconomic status appeared to benefit the most from increases in forests and shrubs, said University of Illinois graduate student Douglas A. Becker, who led the new research with Matt Browning, a professor of recreation, sport and tourism at the University of Illinois.

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