Green Environments and Allergic Diseases in Children: a Scoping Review

  • João Cavaleiro Rufo
  • Inês Paciência
  • Ana Isabel RibeiroEmail author
Social Epidemiology (J Dowd, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Social Epidemiology


Purpose of Review

Urbanization and urbanization-related detrimental exposures are commonly indicated as responsible determinants for the dramatic increase in allergy and asthma, and one of the main urbanization factors that have been recently associated with the development of allergic sensitization is the reduced access to natural and biodiverse spaces. The present review aimed to compile and discuss the recent findings from studies focused on neighbourhood greenspace effect on asthma and allergic disease development in children.

Recent Findings

Green areas neighbouring children residences play a role on the prevalence of allergy and asthma. However, whether greenness is a protective factor, or an exacerbation driver, is yet to be elucidated. This may be due to the confounding factors associated with greenspace exposure, such as vegetation biodiversity, environmental microbiome, human behaviour, or the region itself.


It is not possible to concretely discern the importance of early life exposure to green areas on asthma and allergy development. More studies on determinant factors associated with green areas, such as biodiversity or environmental microbiome, may help to elucidate these associations.


Allergy Asthma Greenspace Neighbourhood Residential Urban environment 


Funding Information

The EXALAR 21 project was funded by the European Regional Development Fund (FEDER), through the Competitiveness and Internationalization Operational Programme, and by national funding from the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) under the scope of the project PTDC/GES-AMB/30193/2017 (POCI-01-0145-FEDER-030193, 02/SAICT/2017 - Project n° 30193). This study was also funded by FEDER through the Operational Programme Competitiveness and Internationalization and national funding from the Foundation for Science and Technology – FCT (Portuguese Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education) under the Unidade de Investigação em Epidemiologia - Instituto de Saúde Pública da Universidade do Porto (EPIUnit) (POCI-01-0145-FEDER-006862; Ref. UID/DTP/04750/2019) and by the EXPOSE project, which is financed by FEDER/FNR and by Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (EXPOSE 02/SAICT/2016 - Project n° 023222).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • João Cavaleiro Rufo
    • 1
  • Inês Paciência
    • 1
  • Ana Isabel Ribeiro
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.EPIUnit – Instituto de Saúde PúblicaUniversidade do PortoPortoPortugal
  2. 2.Department of Public HealthForensic Sciences and Medical Education University of Porto Medical SchoolPortoPortugal

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