Health

Good neighbours could reduce heart attack risk

Homer Simpson might want to be a little friendlier to Ned next door, as a new study has revealed that having good neighbours can reduce the risk of having a heart attack.
neighbours waving to each other over the fence, stock image

US researchers from the University of Michigan looked at the health of more than 5,000 adults aged of 51 to 105 with no known heart problems over four years.

They found that people who said they trusted and liked their neighbours, felt part of the community, and expected their neighbours would help them in a difficulty, were less likely to suffer a heart attack.

Levels of neighbourhood social cohesion were rated on a seven-point scale. Each point reduced the risk of a heart attack by 17 per cent.

Eric Kim, a doctoral student at Michigan who led the study, told The Independent that living in a good neighbourhood might help increase positive emotions and life satisfaction, while reducing stress.

“People with higher neighbourhood social cohesion might benefit from the support of neighbours, especially older adults, who might be getting support when they are sick, even just small things like providing transportation, picking up the mail or groceries. That would prevent worry and stress,” he said.

According to the Heart Foundation, about 55,000 Australians suffer a heart attack each year. It results in 10,000 deaths in Australia every year.

The study is published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

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