Location of house determines blood pressure

Toronto, Nov 9 (IANS) If you are living in a housing society where you need a vehicle to run errands, your chances of suffering from high blood pressure are quite high, says a new study.

The study suggests that you should consider moving to a neighbourhood where walking-errands are convenient.

“We need to set people up for success by making walking instead of driving the more convenient and enjoyable choice,” said lead author Maria Chiu from the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences in Toronto.

Researchers compared 1,057 pairs of adults from the Canadian Community Health Survey (2001 to 2010), who moved from a low walkability neighbourhood to either a high or another low walkability neighbourhood in Ontario, Canada.

They found that people who moved to a walking-friendly neighbourhood had a 54 percent lower risk of high blood pressure than people who left one walking-unfriendly neighbourhood for another.

High blood pressure is one of the main risk factors for heart disease — the leading cause of death in the US — and for stroke, which is the fifth-leading cause of death.

Studies show that an active lifestyle can help reduce the risk of all three of these diseases.

“Urban planners and policymakers can do their part by designing neighbourhoods that are more pedestrian-friendly,” Chiu added.

For most healthy adults, the American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise, like walking, or 75 minutes of vigorous activity (or a combination of both) each week as part of a heart-healthy lifestyle called My Life CheckTM — Life’s Simple 7.

The study was presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2015.

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