Your neighborhood can affect your health

Apr 09, 2008

Research carried out at the Peninsula Medical School, South West England, has found strong links between neighbourhood deprivation and the physical and intellectual health of older people.

Two studies were conducted, both using data on participants in the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA).

The first study investigated over 7,000 individuals aged 52 and older who lived in urban areas across England. The study found that even when individual differences in education and income were taken into account, people who lived in the most deprived areas were significantly more likely to have poorer cognitive function than those living in the least deprived areas. These findings represent a cause for concern because poor cognitive function in older people is closely linked to the risk of developing dementia.

Meanwhile, the second study, which involved 4,148 individuals aged 60 and over, assessed whether mobility disability and neighbourhood deprivation are linked. Over a two-year period, 13.6% of those in the most deprived areas developed problems with mobility compared to 4.0% of those in the least deprived areas. As with the first studies, these figures took into account individual differences in income, education, and health.

Dr. Iain Lang from the Peninsula Medical School, who led the research for both studies, commented: “These findings show the first direct links between the state of a neighbourhood and levels of functioning among its middle-aged and older residents. For both men and women, those living in deprived areas have poorer cognitive function and higher rates of mobility problems than their counterparts in ‘better’ areas.”

He added: “Clearly the type of neighbourhood you live in has an important effect on your health in later life. This underlines how important it is for local and central government to provide adequate levels of health and social care where they are most needed – in our poorest communities.”

Source: The Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry

Explore further: Tobacco firms get partial win over claims on smoking effects (Update)

Related Stories

Filmmakers look to Twitter, Facebook for stars

2 hours ago

Looking for a tattooed demon to be killed by an undercover virgin in your sex club? Well, as any good horror film producer knows, the best place to look these days is on Facebook and Twitter.

Recommended for you

Breastfeeding protects against environmental pollution

19 hours ago

Living in a city with a high level of vehicle traffic or close to a steel works means living with two intense sources of environmental pollution. However, a study conducted by the UPV/EHU researcher Aitana ...

When it comes to hearing, diet may trump noise exposure

19 hours ago

Although the old wives' tale about carrots being good for your eyesight has been debunked, University of Florida researchers have found a link between healthy eating and another of your five senses: hearing.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Polijam_Science
not rated yet Apr 12, 2008
It is not surprising that the kind of neighborhood you live in affects your health. People in poor neighborhoods, for example, may not be getting as much exercise as people in other neighborhoods because of lack of appropriate facilities or security issues. But the study neglects to consider cause and effect issues. Many people stay in poor neighborhoods because they lack cognivitive skill or have other health issues. In other words, it is not necessarily the neighborhood that causes the observed health effects.

Science Editor
www.polijam.com
Your Guide to News Around the Web

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.