According to new study, living in the suburbs may have once been part of the American dream but it can lead to nightmares such as high &to=http://english.pravda.ru/fun/2002/08/12/34262.html' target=_blank>blood pressure, arthritis and headaches.
An adult living somewhere like Atlanta, with its spread-out suburbs and car-heavy culture, will have a health profile that looks like that of someone who lives in Seattle - but who is four years older, the study found.
And the culprit seems to be exercise, or the lack of it, the researchers report in the October issue of the journal Public Health.
"This is the first study that analyzes suburban sprawl and a broad range of chronic health conditions," said Roland Sturm, an economist at the Rand Corp.'s Rand Health unit who helped write the study, informs the Reuters.
The study, which analyzed data on more than 8,600 Americans in 38 metropolitan areas, found that rates of arthritis, asthma, headaches and other complaints increased with the degree of sprawl. Living in the least-sprawling areas, compared with living in the most, was like adding about four years to people's lives in terms of their health, the study found.
"Suburban sprawl affects your health," said Roland Sturm, a senior economist at the Rand Corp. of Santa Monica, Calif., who led the study, which is being released today, reports the Indy Star. According to CBS News, the study was based on information from a telephone survey, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, that questioned adults about their physical and mental health in 1998 and 2001.