It is not clear why this is so, but researchers in the UK came to this conclusion after studying data from 48 million people in England from the 2001 census. They found that people living close to the sea were more likely to declare themselves ‘healthy’ than people living inland. The benefits were clearer among people from poorer backgrounds.
There may be many reasons for this. ‘One of the most obvious is the opportunity for physical activity or being more motivated to go for a walk along the coast,’ says Dr Benedict W. Wheeler, lead author of the study. Also it could be that people who are healthier are the ones who move close to the sea. According to Wheeler, ‘they are possibly moving to the coast and bringing their good health with them.’
By analyzing the benefits of living by the sea, it may be possible to improve conditions in other places as well. ‘While not everyone can live by the sea, some of the health promoting features of coastal environments could be transferable to other places,’ says co-author Mathew White.
The study is published in Elsevier’s journal Health & Place, locked behind a paywall. In two years from now, according to recent news, it would probably have been freely accessible.
Source: BBC News
Photo: Wolfgang Staudt/Flickr
Benedict W. Wheeler, Mathew White, Will Stahl-Timmins, & Michael H. Depledge (2012). Does living by the coast improve health and wellbeing? Health & Place DOI: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2012.06.015
Colin D. Woodroffe