When it comes to healthy living, there are a lot of factors that come into play from the foods you consume to the garcinia cambogia extract you take to getting a decent amount of exercise. However, perhaps one of the most overlooked influences in your health may simply be where you hang your hat.
There's a chance that when you are walking around your neighborhood, you are happier and feel more balanced when you see people are outside getting some exercise or simply relaxing and enjoying the fresh air. However, even in the U.S., not everyone's surroundings promote a lifestyle that includes better choices.
Geography and your health
According to Health Affairs, one-fifth of Americans reside in a city or region that has a direct negative impact on their health. The source listed some of the biggest factors for this, including having no sidewalks - which is an ideal spot for walking and running. A lot of these areas will also have a lack of playgrounds or parks, which discourages physical activity in these areas starting at a young age. Another major factor in this phenomenon is that neighborhoods and cities such as this will typically have limited access to fruits and vegetables - called "food deserts" - so many Americans will often not be eating the right foods.
Since more than one-third (35.7 percent) of Americans are considered obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the consequences for these neighborhoods could not be more important. Not only does a lack of exercise and wholesome food lead to serious conditions like Type 2 diabetes, stroke and heart disease, but it also tallies an estimated $147 billion in medical costs in 2008. Clearly, there are many reasons why these areas could have a major impact on your overall health.
"There's a lot of information in an address," Anthony B. Iton, MD, JD, MPH, senior vice president of healthy communities for The California Endowment, explained to The Colorado Health Foundation. "It tells me about your income, your education, the health amenities you have access to and employment opportunities you can access. I can pretty much predict your life expectancy by where you live."
Other factors that influence your zip code
Iton told the source that there was significant research that backed up these claims. For example, life expectancy in the city of Philadelphia was 6.4 years lower than citizens who lived 21 miles away in Chester County. There are several reasons for this, from a lack of healthy food, environments that encourage exercise and well-being, exposure to pollution and education.
Although you may not be able to control where you live, you can take charge of your health on your own in several ways, such as planting a community garden so that more residents have access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Keeping your own health in check can influence others in your area and encourage a sustainable and healthy life - remember, good habits are learned!
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