Where you live affects your health!

According to a new Canadian study where you live is a big factor in how healthy you are.

The study, by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), has found that people in neighbourhoods with higher incomes and higher education levels were more likely to report excellent or very good health.

Residents in such areas also reported being more involved in active pastimes and were less likely to smoke.

Health gaps between neighbourhoods have been revealed by the report which looked at health outcomes and behaviours in neighbourhoods of five large cities, Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Montreal and Halifax.

The evaluation was based on Statistics from the 2001 Canadian census, and considered five characteristics - income, education, recent immigration, people living alone and single parent families.

The researchers found that the physical characteristics of communities, such as location, were also factors in residents' health.

The report also found that physical characteristics of neighbourhoods, such as a neighbourhood's location, were related to health and the proportion of people reporting that they were overweight or obese tended to be lower in urban neighbourhoods situated close to downtown.

The injury rates in both Vancouver and Toronto differed from the other three cities and both communities with a higher-than-average immigrant population and/or single parent families were less likely to report injuries.

Rates of injury did not vary significantly in Calgary, Montreal and Halifax.

Overall, there was an 11 per cent health gap between the five cities with 67 per cent of youth and adults in Calgary reporting excellent or good health, 63 per cent in Halifax, 59 per cent in Vancouver, 58 per cent in Montreal and 56 per cent in Toronto.

The research suggests that income, social characteristics, such as whether neighbours are willing to help each other, physical characteristics such as whether a neighbourhood is walkable and housing, such as whether housing is safe, affordable and suitable in size, may all be linked with health at a neighbourhood level.

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