For much of modern history, the consensus has been that city living is bad for your health. Why would anyone choose to live in crowded, urban environments when they could live happily in the suburbs? Although there are many positives to living in the suburbs, it may not be as great as you have been led to believe.
A study by the University of Oxford and the University of Hong Kong found that rates of obesity are lower where population is denser, i.e. cities. One characteristic of city living that solidifies the findings in this study is the close proximity of places in a city. City dwellers typically walk much more than those plagued by urban sprawl who have to drive most places. This results in those lower obesity rates we see in the study. Plus, being closely surrounded by others means that you will spend more time around people leading to increased levels of socializing. This can have significant mental health benefits.
Overall, as the study concludes, living in urban areas isn’t as harmful to one’s well-being as the consensus seems to believe. There are many reasons why humans have chosen to live so close to each other throughout history. Even as technology has made it possible for people to live farther apart, there is still an underlying motivation to be close to people and things. Now this study does not explain the reality of everyone’s city experience. One may find their own experience to be quite different to these findings but, as the data shows, it can be part of a healthy lifestyle. And with 68% of the world’s populations projected to live in urban areas by 2050, maybe it’s time to give it a chance. Continue reading for more of that study.