3 results for Pearce, J.

  • “Clean and healthy to breathe” - Air pollution and environmental justice in New Zealand

    Kingham, S.; Pearce, J. (2006)

    Conference Contributions - Other
    University of Canterbury Library

    Examines equity issues associated with levels of air pollution, specifically PM₁₀, in New Zealand

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  • Deprived yet healthy: Neighbourhood-level resilience in New Zealand

    Pearson, A.; Pearce, J.; Kingham, S. (2013)

    Journal Articles
    University of Canterbury Library

    Geographical inequalities in health are omnipresent with health and related behaviours typically worse in socioeconomically deprived places. However, this is not always true. Deprived places with unexpectedly good health outcomes, or what might be considered ‘resilient’ places, have been noted. Few studies have quantitatively examined resilience in neighbourhoods or investigated potential explanations for this resilience. This paper examines the paradox of low mortality despite high social deprivation in New Zealand neighbourhoods and considers possible neighbourhood characteristics that contribute to unanticipated positive health outcomes. Using area-level mortality (2005–2007) and socioeconomic data, we developed the Resilience Index New Zealand to quantify neighbourhood levels of resilience across the country. We then examined relationships between this measure and a suite of built, physical and social characteristics. We found that resilient places tended to be densely populated, urban areas. We observed gradients and increases/decreases in the most resilient groups in access to or levels of physical environment factors (environmental deprivation, safe drinking water, air quality) and unhealthy living infrastructure (alcohol and gambling outlets). Since these factors are amenable to change, these findings are the strongest evidence that such improvements may lower mortality in similarly deprived places. The social environment of resilient areas was characterised by high levels of incoming residents. We also found some surprising associations and observed U-shaped relationships for a number of the neighbourhood factors. Such findings suggest the need to develop a better proxy of community cohesion and a better understanding of the interactions between people and their neighbourhoods, rather than simply the presence of certain factors. We argue that this study has identified amenable neighbourhood characteristics and highlighted the importance of ‘place-specific’ resilience factors that may be effective in reducing mortality in some neighbourhoods, but be less effective in others.

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  • The association between green space and cause-specific mortality in urban New Zealand: an ecological analysis of green space utility

    Richardson, E.A.; Pearce, J.; Mitchell, R.J.; Day, P.; Kingham, S. (2010)

    Journal Articles
    University of Canterbury Library

    Background: There is mounting international evidence that exposure to green environments is associated with health benefits, including lower mortality rates. Consequently, it has been suggested that the uneven distribution of such environments may contribute to health inequalities. Possible causative mechanisms behind the green space and health relationship include the provision of physical activity opportunities, facilitation of social contact and the restorative effects of nature. In the New Zealand context we investigated whether there was a socioeconomic gradient in green space exposure and whether green space exposure was associated with cause-specific mortality (cardiovascular disease and lung cancer). We subsequently asked what is the mechanism(s) by which green space availability may influence mortality outcomes, by contrasting health associations for different types of green space. Methods: This was an observational study on a population of 1,546,405 living in 1009 small urban areas in New Zealand. A neighbourhood-level classification was developed to distinguish between usable (i.e., visitable) and non-usable green space (i.e., visible but not visitable) in the urban areas. Negative binomial regression models were fitted to examine the association between quartiles of area-level green space availability and risk of mortality from cardiovascular disease (n = 9,484; 1996 - 2005) and from lung cancer (n = 2,603; 1996 - 2005), after control for age, sex, socio-economic deprivation, smoking, air pollution and population density. Deprived neighbourhoods were relatively disadvantaged in total green space availability (11% less total green space for a one standard deviation increase in NZDep2001 deprivation score, p < 0.001), but had marginally more usable green space (2% more for a one standard deviation increase in deprivation score, p = 0.002). No significant associations between usable or total green space and mortality were observed after adjustment for confounders. Conclusion: Contrary to expectations we found no evidence that green space influenced cardiovascular disease mortality in New Zealand, suggesting that green space and health relationships may vary according to national, societal or environmental context. Hence we were unable to infer the mechanism in the relationship. Our inability to adjust for individual-level factors with a significant influence on cardiovascular disease and lung cancer mortality risk (e.g., diet and alcohol consumption) will have limited the ability of the analyses to detect green space effects, if present. Additionally, green space variation may have lesser relevance for health in New Zealand because green space is generally more abundant and there is less social and spatial variation in its availability than found in other contexts.

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