Everywhere, everybody needs a neighbor showing up when times get hard. After all, you see them every day, deal with them and may even have gatherings with them. That is why most home buyers consider the neighborhood just as much as they do the house — because they want quality neighbors by their side. But, according to a recent study published by the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, having good neighbors may actually improve heart health too.
Researchers did extensive tracking of over 5,000 senior citizens with no recorded heart problems and monitored their heart health over a span of four years. In 2006, the participants in the study were asked about their neighbors, how they felt about them, etc. They were asked specific questions like if they could trust their neighbors, if the neighborhood was friendly and if they had neighbors willing to help them in their time of need.
During the four year study, 148 participants ended up having a heart attack. Out of those participants, those who had a better neighborhood environment were less at risk for a heart attack than those in stressful or hostile neighborhoods.
The study also showed that those who lived in tight, comfortable neighborhoods had less risk for cardiovascular disease.
Social Environments Do Impact Overall Health
A person’s social environment can impact their overall health. In fact, think about your own neighborhood. If you have a difficult or rude neighbor, you don’t look forward to going outside, interacting with them or even seeing them. This can cause unnecessary social strain and even emotional strain on your body.
But also, certain social factors may have an impact on a person’s health, according to the National Institutes of Health. Factors like where a person is born, how they grow up, their work, financial situation, etc. may all have an impact on their heart health.
In a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, a social experiment was conducted comparing health outcomes of low-income single mothers. The study concluded that there was a distinct correlation between where a child grew up and their risk for obesity and diabetes. For example, poverty stricken neighborhoods lack in nutrition. Also, poor neighborhoods often don’t have parks or even sidewalks for children to remain active; thus, leading to higher rates of child obesity.
Naturally we cannot all control our neighbors. But, with the recent studies showing how neighborhoods do impact health, it may be a good idea to start considering the entire neighborhood before choosing your next home.