Happy Neighbors cartoon A study conducted by the Canadian Institute for Health Information state that an individual’s health is significantly influenced by environmental factors associated to neighborhoods.

Experts, who evaluated the health of citizens of major Canadian urban centers, suggested that habitat could positively or negatively affect one’s health.

Dr. Cordell Neudorf, who has contributed to the study said, “Place matters to your health. Where we live and the environments we find ourselves in – living, working and playing – can have a direct impact on our health and also on our ability to make healthy choices.”

The Canadian team, who was particularly interested by those living in Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, Halifax, and Calgary, indicated that the way people relate to their neighborhood is directly linked to their health condition. They five characteristics considered were income, education, recent immigration, people living alone and single parent families and found that people in neighborhoods with higher incomes and higher education levels were more likely to report excellent or very good health.

According to the research, those who are content with the security and appearance of the surrounding areas of their home are lowering the risk of illnesses.

Furthermore, habitants of neighborhoods placed closer to downtown that are offering a variety of leisure activities, are healthier and slimmer than those living in areas where sports centers, cinemas or parks are few.

Lisa Votta, co-author of the research stated, “Physical and social aspects of the neighborhood are linked to health. Is your neighborhood walkable? Does it have sidewalks, lighting? Do you feel safe? Are neighbors willing to help each other out? Do you feel you can go to your neighbors in times of trouble? That’s linked to better health.”