-- Robert Preidt
WEDNESDAY, March 14 (HealthDay News) -- Living in a neighborhood
with parks, safe areas to walk, grocery stores and produce markets
is good for your heart, a new study says.
Researchers analyzed data from more than 6,000 people who were
assessed for seven cardiovascular risk factors: cholesterol, body
mass index, diet, physical activity, fasting blood sugar, blood
pressure and smoking.
Participants were rated as having poor, intermediate or ideal
levels of the risk factors and were given an overall score of their
cardiovascular health. The researchers also looked at neighborhood
features that affect heart health.
"The most significant neighborhood factors that lead to ideal [cardiovascular] health were access to recreational resources like parks and trails where people can walk in safety and comfort, and the availability of healthy foods," study author Erin Unger, a medical student at Northwestern University, said in an American Heart Association (AHA) news release.
"These are some of the first findings showing that your neighborhood influences your overall cardiovascular health," Unger said.
The study, slated for presentation Wednesday at an AHA meeting
in San Diego, also found that people who were younger than 55,
male, white and highly educated tended to have better heart
"This study demonstrates the importance of where we live," Unger said. "Our neighborhood can play a significant role in our health."
Community gardens, parks, lights and sidewalks are among the
ways to encourage physical activity in neighborhoods, she
Because this study was presented at a medical meeting, the data
and conclusions should be viewed as preliminary until published in
a peer-reviewed journal.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains how
prevent heart disease.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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