Posted on September 28, 2015

Can City Life Make You Healthier?

New research from Savannah State University shows that those who live in urban areas are healthier than those in less dense areas. That finding may surprise you. Here’s what the report says about the correlation between your health and where you live:

Active transportation 

Neighbourhoods with poor walkability mean people often spend more time in the car. Those who live in the suburbs spend about 18 per cent more time driving than those in the city.

“An inferior pedestrian environment” is associated with higher rates of obesity and diabetes, according to a new report. Active mobility - walking and biking - is more common in dense cities partially due to the compact and connected street networks. This corresponds to reduced rates of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.

Master-planned communities like Station Square in Metrotown encourage walking or riding a bike because amenities are nearby.

Healthy eating

Rural children aged two to five are nearly twice as likely as urban children to consume more than 24 ounces of sweetened beverages a day. From age six to eleven, rural children consume on average 80 grams of fat a day, compared to 73 grams for urban children, according to the South Carolina Health Research Centre.

In urban settings, farmers’ markets and health food stores have become more common, meaning high-quality, nutritious food is easily accessible.

In addition, healthy eating is often promoted among city residents. The report states that “peer pressure” to eat well doesn’t exist in the same way in more sparsely populated areas.

Of course, as the researchers are careful to point out, correlation does not prove causation. It could also be that those with healthier lifestyles choose city life!