Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Good neighbors, fewer strokes, study shows

How does a neighborhood cut stroke risk?

Environment, we're learning, is a key element of good health. Places to walk safely. Access to healthy food. Quiet. Clean air. There are all kinds of local, state and federal policies about where people live that can impact health.

Now, recent research shows that good neighbors can mean fewer strokes:
"If future work consistently shows that neighborhood-level constructs provide a protective effect against stroke," they continued, "this line of research may further justify policy changes and neighborhood-level public health approaches to stroke prevention."
Numerous studies have examined the relationship between negative neighborhood factors -- including violence, noise, traffic, cleanliness, and air quality -- and poor health outcomes, but not many have explored the associations between positive neighborhood characteristics and health.
In three Chicago neighborhoods, a previous study showed that an increase in perceived social cohesion within the neighborhood -- a measure of  "connectedness between and among neighbors and their willingness to intervene for the common good" -- was associated with a reduced risk of fatal stroke.

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