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How Your Neighbors Make You Healthier

Date:20-09-2013 07:51:00 read:1
Category:Man-->Diseases

Toast to your health.

Block parties may offer more than tasty barbecue: Living in a good neighborhood lowers your stroke risk by almost 50 percent—the equivalent benefit of being a non-smoker, finds a new study from the University of Michigan.

The researchers chalk up the surprising link to something called “neighborhood social cohesion”: The more connected you feel to your active, healthy neighbors and community, the more motivated you are to act the same, says lead study author Eric Kim. (On the flip side, if you don’t have a strong bond with the people on your block, you’re less likely and able to habitualize healthy behaviors, Kim says.)

While Kim’s study followed adults 50 and older, he believes neighborhood social cohesion would benefit younger people’s health and habits as well.

But making friends isn’t as easy as it once was. “Adults have more people in their lives—significant others, children, extended family—so they feel less pull to make friends than kids do,” says Geoffrey Greif, Ph.D, author of Buddy System: Understanding Male Friendships. “However, research clearly states that people with friendships live longer, healthier, and happier lives.”

Just buy a house in a new ‘hood and want to break the ice with the folks next door? Catch your neighbor trimming the hedges and strike up a conversation about his landscaping. “Everyone’s interested in their own backyard,” says Grief. From there, ask about the development, and brush up on local news. “Neighbors have their community in common, and commonalities breed friendships,” he says.

  • 7 Steps to Reduce Your Stroke Risk
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    Ever For Health Copy Rights 2013