6 Ways in Which Where You Live Affects Your Health
What the research says: Chronic health issues may come knocking sooner than expected. A study in Public Health found that people living in areas of urban sprawl (think cul-de-sacs instead of grids, and more space between neighbors) were more likely to report problems like high blood pressure, headaches, arthritis and breathing difficulty. In fact, the number of health issues they had was on par with what experts would expect to see in those four years older, says study co-author Deborah Cohen, MD, MPH, a senior natural scientist at the RAND Corporation. Not surprisingly, an increase in sedentary time probably plays a big role. The quality of your area can age you, too—a recent study in PLOS One found that Dutch people who lived in areas with high crime, noise and vandalism had shorter telomeres, caps on DNA strands that get shorter with age. Biologically, they were more than decade older than those living in less stressful neighborhoods.