[Originally posted 12.Jan.2011; Updated 18.Jan.2011]
I thought I’d seen it all until I saw this story. The Associated Press reports that according to U.S. Forest Service researchers, there’s a correlation between healthy babies and homes with more shade trees.
For each 10 percent increase in tree coverage within about 50 yards of a home, the rate of undersized newborns decreased by 1.42 per 1000 births. As it stands, about 70 of every 1,000 newborns in Portland are small for gestational age. “Maybe it sounds a bit daft at first,” says lead author Geoffrey Donovan, a scientist with the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station in Portland. But he says it’s plausible that having lots of trees nearby counteracts the stress experienced by pregnant women.
Researchers cautioned that more study is needed before conclusions can be confirmed.
We’ll pass along a link to this study once we’re able to locate it.
Update: Here’s a link to the complete study (PDF).