Blame for Louisville’s high incidence of heart disease has long been attributed to a population that has unhealthy eating habits, a high rate of smoking, and an overall lack of exercise. In some circles, the city’s reputation has earned it an unwelcome nickname — Coronary Valley.
But a new idea called “The Green Heart Program” seeks to determine if the simple presence of trees and more green spaces can improve overall health and lower the region’s rate of heart disease.
“We are testing the idea that if you increase green spaces in an urban community, you will see improvements in health,” Dr. Aruni Bhatnager, a University of Louisville professor of medicine who is leading the study, said in a Passport-sponsored article on Insider Louisville.
Dr. Bhatnager said the study will enroll 700 people living in south Louisville neighborhoods and measure their risk for heart disease. The project will then plant nearly 10,000 large mature trees in those areas, then go back later to see if the presence of green affects the health of the community.