Love thy neighbor: It could lower your risk of stroke

Love thy neighbor: It could lower your risk of stroke

Here's some neighborly advice for adults over age 50: Stay friendly with your neighbors.

A new University of Michigan study shows that adults in this age bracket who live in a good neighborhood with trustworthy people lowered their risk of stroke up to 48 percent.

Feeling connected with neighbors builds what researchers describe as "neighborhood ." The trust and connection with neighbors was associated with a reduced risk of stroke above and beyond the effects of negative psychological factors—such as depression and anxiety, said Eric Kim, a doctoral student in the U-M Department of Psychology and the study's lead author.

Other studies have focused on how negative neighborhood factors such as violence, noise, traffic, litter and can increase poor health. The U-M research is among the first studies to examine how positive neighborhood assets might enhance good health.

"Studies in the past have typically looked at a neighborhood's physical environment and its association with health, for example the number of in an area," Kim said. "We looked at the social environment."

This study builds upon the growing literature that suggests the importance of a neighborhood's social climate on health, he said.

Researchers used data from a nationally representative sample of 6,740 adults over the age of 50. Participants, who had never suffered a stroke, were asked to indicate the degree of trust in their neighborhood, with higher scores indicating more cohesion with neighbors. They also disclosed some information on (e.g., , heart problems and diabetes) and .

Among the sample, 265 respondents had a stroke during the four-year follow-up (46 fatal, 219 nonfatal). But the research indicated that the higher perceived neighborhood social cohesion was associated with a lower risk of stroke.

"If repeatedly find an association with neighborhood social cohesion and better health, randomized controlled trials—which may eventually lead to public-health type interventions—may be in order," Kim said.

The researchers noted that the study did not assess the risks of stroke based on ethnicity, nor were respondents asked about their family's medical history, especially as it relates to cardiovascular diseases.

The study, which was co-authored by Nansook Park and Christopher Peterson, appears in the online issue of Social Science & Medicine.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Neighborhood features could prevent obesity

Jun 04, 2013

Living in a neighborhood that supports a healthy lifestyle can make a measurable difference in preventing obesity, according to a longitudinal study recently published in the journal Obesity.

Recommended for you

Obama offers new accommodations on birth control

54 minutes ago

The Obama administration will offer a new accommodation to religious nonprofits that object to covering birth control for their employees. The measure allows those groups to notify the government, rather than their insurance ...

Use a rule of thumb to control how much you drink

1 hour ago

Sticking to a general rule of pouring just a half glass of wine limits the likelihood of overconsumption, even for men with a higher body mass index. That's the finding of a new Iowa State and Cornell University ...

Many patients are discharged without a diagnosis

4 hours ago

Chest pain, breathing difficulties, fainting. Each year approx. 265,000 Danes are acutely admitted to medical departments with symptoms of serious illness. New research from Aarhus University and Aarhus University Hospital ...

Wellness visits, physicals need different documentation

4 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Documentation rules for annual wellness visits (AWVs) for Medicare differ from those for preventive visits, which are not covered by Medicare, according to an article published Aug. 5 in Medical Ec ...

User comments