Walkable cities help to reduce the population’s blood pressure
A study of 430,000 people between the ages of 38 and 73 in 22 cities across the UK found that walkable cities helped to significantly reduce blood pressure and the risk of hypertension. This is the largest study so far looking at the link between a city’s walkability and hypertension. The researchers believe this is “evidence of the intangible value of urban design in improving long term health outcomes.”
The results remained consistent even after lifestyle, socio-demographic and physical variables were taken into account. The results were particularly pronounced in individuals aged between 50 and 60 living in denser less affluent areas. The study published in the International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health, found that poorly designed spaces inhibited physical activity including walking, resulting in sedentary lifestyles, less social interactions and poorer physical and mental health.
NOTE: The International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health is an open access journal specialising in epidemiological aspects of environmental toxicology and exposure assessment.