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The Incredible Way Your Health Can Be Affected By Where You Live

There are many factors that go into choosing a place to live. If you have children, you might look at school districts. If you are a swimmer, you might want some place near the ocean. But it never dawned on me to consider my health when picking where to live. The Harvard School of Public Healthcites professor Francine Laden’s research, “Do you live near a major road? A power plant? In a dense neighborhood, or in a suburb? Close to a supermarket with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables? Factors such as these [according to Laden] can have an impact on your health.” I’ve heard that strange things can impact my physical well-being like how emotions are capable of causing physical painbut I had no idea that the place I call home could have equally as large an effect. This exclusive list goes into the health benefits and detractors of living in a variety ofdifferent places. I’m so glad I know this now! Scroll through to see what your living situation can revealabout your

1. High Altitudes

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LittleThings / Maya Borenstein

While most people know that living at high altitudes can thin the blood, many do not know about the benefits of living so high up. Robert Roach, director of the Altitude Research Center, says in the Chicago Tribune, “We’ve known since the 1920s [that] if you go to really high altitudes you will lose weight.” In fact, Colorado, which sits at the highest elevation in all of America, has the lowest obesity rate in the country. Roach continues, “If you look at people who live at high altitude around the world, incidents of most types of heart disease and stroke are much less.”

2. The Suburbs

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LittleThings / Maya Borenstein

Living in the suburbs can bring with it many health advantages and disadvantages. Dr. Gillian Booth says onCTV News, “It’s no secret that obesity rates have been climbing and it’s partly because we’re sedentary.” She says that zoning laws in suburbs often discourage walking and exercising by putting retail services far from residential areas. “In these areas, people are twice as likely to drive and much less likely to walk or take transit.” This lack of walking can not only lead to obesity, but higher rates of diabetes as well. That said, the Department of Health and Human Services says, “Our health is also determined in part by access to social and economic opportunities…the quality of our schooling…and the nature of our social interactions and relationships.” This means the better the suburb, the better the health benefits.

3. The Woods

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LittleThings / Maya Borenstein

It might seem like common sense, but spending time in nature can be really great for your health. TheNY State Department of Environmental Conservation writes that being surrounding by a forest “has real, quantifiable health benefits, both mental and physical.” They also notethat forestry“boosts [the] immune system, lowers blood pressure, reduces stress, improves mood, increases ability to focus, accelerates recovery from surgery or illness, increases energy level, [and] improves sleep.”

4. Near The Highway

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LittleThings / Maya Borenstein

While living near a highway may be convenient, it is not necessarily the best for your health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “approximately 4% of the total U.S. population lives within 150 meters of a major highway, suggesting increased exposure to traffic-related air pollution and elevated risk for adverse health outcomes.” The largest effect is on lung function and breathing. Dr. W. James Gauderman writes, “Otherwise-healthy children who were non-asthmatic and non-smokers also experienced a significant decrease in lung function from traffic pollution.”

5. The Desert

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LittleThings / Maya Borenstein

There are many benefits to living in warm desert areas like the Southwest. Distance from larger cities can mean higher air quality, and consistent access to sunlight can lead to a higher degreeof positive mental health. However, desert environments also come with their own risks. Francine Laden, associate professor of environmental epidemiology, found that more exposure to UV light can increase the likelihood of carcinoma. They found that those who lived in places like the Southwest were more likely to be at risk due to higher UV exposure.

6. A Farm

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LittleThings / Maya Borenstein

There are many health benefits to living on a farm. This farm-life affords you the chance to breathe much higher quality air, and provides ample opportunity for exercise through manual labor. However, one large health concern with farms are crop pesticides. The Natural Resources Defense Council writes, “Today, with the pervasive use of highly toxic agricultural pesticides, growing up on, or even near, agricultural land means potentially being surrounded by a swirl of poisons.” They continue, “Pesticides should be considered one of the top five environmental threats to children’s health.”

7. The Big City

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LittleThings / Maya Borenstein

Living in a city can be a mixed bag health-wise. On the one hand, city-dwellers have easy access to many important health services and are much more prone to walking and physical activity. However, mentally, urbanites may be suffering some negative effects.TheGuardian cites research “that people living in cities have a 21% increased risk of anxiety disorders and a 39% increased risk of mood disorders.” In addition,io9writes, “If you live in a city, you’re more likely to develop asthma, allergies, and dry eye.”

8. By The Sea

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LittleThings / Maya Borenstein

In terms of health, one of the most overwhelmingly positive places to live is by the ocean. Those living near the beach tend to be more physically active, and have the benefit of breathing higher quality sea air. Environmental psychologist Mathew White says that when near the beach, “it’s not going to be any great surprise to you that people relax.” His studies have found moving to a coast “significantly improves people’s well-being,” particularly by lowering stress levels and encouragingphysical activity.

9. Wide Open Spaces

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LittleThings / Maya Borenstein

There are certainly advantages and disadvantages to living in a flat, wide-open portion of the world. On the one hand, relaxation and a more laid-back approach to life may lead to lower stress levels. However,NBC News reports that living in the Midwest actually can mean you aremuch more likely to need a knee replacement than if you live elsewhere in the country. These knee problems are a result of a much higher rate of obesity and a significant shortage of services and surgeries being performed for those who are extremely overweight.

Read more: http://www.littlethings.com/how-where-you-live-affects-your-health/