New research adds additional strength to the old real estate maxim: location, location, location.
Researchers at the University of Michigan School of Public Health found that people who lived in areas with more opportunities for exercise, less crime, better grocery stores and a closer sense of community had a lower risk of having high blood pressure. The results were found to be independent of socio-economic factors such as income and education level.
Better access to healthy foods, walkable streets and recreational areas may make it easier for people to exercise and maintain a healthy diet, according to the study, which was published in the July issue of Epidemiology and reported by Reuters Health. While living conditions that make it difficult for people to relax and recover from life’s daily stresses might contribute to blood pressure problems.
The study found that people who lived in the most pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods were about one-quarter less likely to have high blood pressure than those in the least easy-to-walk areas. The researchers also found similar differences when they looked at neighborhood safety, availability of healthy foods and social cohesion. The findings were based on 2,612 adults ages 45 to 85 who took part in a larger study of cardiovascular health. All lived either in New York City, Baltimore or Forsyth County in North Carolina.
A new farmers’ market in my area this summer has made it easy to pick up fresh local fruits and vegetables on my walk home from work. What makes your neighbourhood a great place to live?