Why it’s healthier to live at the coast than inland
Researchers from the Centre used data from the UK’s census to examine how health varied across the country, finding that people are more likely to have good health the closer they live to the sea. The analysis also showed that the link between living near the coast and good health was strongest in the most economically deprived communities.
Researchers looked at the proportion of people who reported their health as being “Good” and then compared this with how close those respondents lived to the coast. They also took into account the way that age, sex and a range of social and economic factors (like education and income) vary across the country.
The results show that on average, populations living by the sea report rates of good health more than similar populations living inland. The authors were keen to point out that although this effect is relatively small, when applied to the whole population the impacts on public health could be substantial. Along with other studies the results of this work suggest that access to ‘good’ environments may have a role in reducing inequality in health between the wealthiest and poorest members of society.
Previous research has shown that the coastal environment may not only offer better opportunities for its inhabitants to be active, but also provide significant benefits in terms of stress reduction. Another recent study conducted by the Centre in collaboration with Natural England found that visits to the coast left people feeling calmer, more relaxed and more revitalised than visits to city parks or countryside. One reason those living in coastal communities may attain better physical health could be due to the stress relief offered by spending time near to the sea.
“We know that people usually have a good time when they go to the beach,” said lead author of the study, Dr Ben Wheeler, “but there is strikingly little evidence of how spending time at the coast can affect health and wellbeing. By analysing data for the whole population, our research suggests that there is a positive effect, although this type of study cannot prove cause and effect.”
Useful web sites for more information
Property Search Engine
Independent property news
Property for sale in Scarborough
Property for sale in Bournemouth
Property for sale on the Isle of Anglesey
Properties for sale in St Andrews
Latest from Independent journalists on Twitter