Can a happy neighbourhood also be healthy?

Posted on 27th July 2012

Dr Ivy Shiue has recently published research that suggests adolescents who are satisfied with their neighbourhoods and believe themselves to be happy, are more likely to consider themselves in good health.

The study analysed data from the Taiwan Youth Project, a study of over 5500 students in the cities of Taipei and Yilan, and found that participants were more likely to report good health if they also reported that they were happy and satisfied with their local neighbourhood, irrespective of where they live.

Data was collected through extensive interviews that asked participants to rate a number of variables in their lives. The analysis by Dr Shiue suggests that in addition to factors such as wealth, measures to improve neighbourhoods could have marked benefits for the health and wellbeing of their youths.

Dr Shiue said “Previous research has focused closely on how living conditions can impact health. However, for youths in particular, this study suggests that the entire neighbourhood can have a large influence on both school performance and personal health. If we can work towards improving these formative environments, we can help attain higher levels of health for youths at this critical time in their development”.

The study is published ahead of print in the Scandinavian Journal of Public Health and will shortly be available here.

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