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Associations between living near water and risk of mortality among urban Canadians

Author: Dan L. Crouse, Adele Balram, Perry Hystad, Lauren Pinault, Matilda van den Bosch, Hong Chen, Daniel Rainham, Errol M. Thomson, Christopher H. Close, Aaron van Donkelaar, Randall V. Martin, Richard Ménard, Alain Robichaud, Paul J. Villeneuve
Year: 2018
Category: Health Publications

Read the journal article in Environmental Health Perspectives 


Increasing evidence suggests that residential exposures to natural environments, such as green spaces, are associated with many health benefits. Only a single study has examined the potential link between living near water and mortality.


We sought to examine whether residential proximity to large, natural water features (e.g., lakes, rivers, coasts, “blue space”) was associated with cause-specific mortality.


Our cohort included approximately 1.3 million subjects at baseline, 106,180 of whom died from nonaccidental causes during follow-up. We found significant, reduced risks of mortality in the range of 12–17% associated with living within 250m250m of water in comparison with living farther away, among all causes of death examined, except with external/accidental causes. Protective effects were found to be higher among women and all older adults than among other subjects, and protective effects were found to be highest against deaths from stroke and respiratory-related causes.


Our findings suggest that living near blue spaces in urban areas has important benefits to health, but further work is needed to better understand the drivers of this association.