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Access to residential green spaces has been associated with many health benefits. While some studies suggest that those who live closer to open spaces, such as parks and other forms of green space, have higher levels of physical activity and reduced obesity, the findings have been mixed. To date, there have been few nationally based studies that have investigated associations between objectively defined measures of green space and physical activity and obesity. In this talk, I will discuss ongoing research that makes use of data from the US-based Sister Study and the Canadian Community Health Survey. We assigned residential measures of greenness to these two survey populations using the US National Land Cover database and Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), respectively. Preliminary findings suggest that efforts to improve access to green space could reduce sedentary behavior and obesity. Lastly, priorities for further research into the health benefits of green space will be presented.
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Presenter: Dr. Paul Villeneuve
Dr. Paul Villeneuve graduated from the Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Toronto in 2000, and has been accredited as a Professional Statistician (P.Stat) by the Statistical Society of Canada. Dr. Villeneuve has long been involved in epidemiological studies dating back to his time spent at the Laboratory Centre for Disease Control at Health & Welfare Canada in 1988. His main research interests are environmental and occupational epidemiology. He has actively been involved in evaluating the relationship between occupational exposure to radon and lung cancer among Newfoundland fluorspar miners over the span of almost two decades. For his PhD dissertation, he examined the relationship between exposure to electric and magnetic fields among electric utility workers. He was a research scientist within the Health Environments and Consumer Safety Branch for approximately eight years, before he left Health Canada to join the new Department of Health Sciences at Carleton University in 2014. At Health Canada, he was involved in several cohort studies examining the association between ambient air pollution and chronic diseases. He also holds appointments at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto and is an affiliate scientist to the Ontario Occupational Cancer Research Centre.
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