More affordable housing, healthier hearts? | Healthiest Community Health News

More affordable housing, healthier hearts? | Healthiest Community Health News

by Kara Murez, healthday reporter

THURSDAY, September 9, 2021 (HealthDay News) — The key to good health may be in the hands of those who set zoning policies for their communities.

According to a new US study, inclusive zoning policies that provide affordable housing were associated with lower rates of heart disease for those who benefited from these housing.

(health day)

“Many cities across the country are facing severe shortages of affordable housing,” said lead study author Antwan Jones, an associate professor of sociology at George Washington University in Washington DC.

“Our study shows that inclusive zoning programs can not only help boost the supply of safe, affordable housing, but also reduce the risk of heart disease,” Jones said in a university news release.

The researchers found that places with inclusive zoning had fewer residents with high blood pressure and high cholesterol than communities without these programs. Residents were less likely to take medication for high blood pressure. They were less likely to already develop coronary heart disease.

These policies were associated with better heart health even when the study controlled for other factors associated with heart disease, such as poverty, health insurance, and smoking. However, the study only showed an association, not a direct cause-and-effect relationship.

The researchers used data from the 500 Cities Project, along with zoning and demographic information. He notes that more than 880 cities and counties in 25 states have adopted inclusive zoning policies or incentive programs for developers who have set aside a portion of their construction projects for low- and middle-income households. These incentives may include tax breaks and exemptions from certain rules.

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In the report published on September 8, the authors said that mandatory inclusive zoning had the greatest impact on markers of heart health. Spreading.

More than 365,000 people die from coronary heart disease annually in the United States. The authors call for more research on the relationship between zoning and heart health, while this study suggests that inclusive zoning may address some of the more complex health challenges facing struggling families.

“Stable, affordable housing in healthy communities can reduce stress and increase access to fresh produce, parks, jobs, safe roads and other amenities that help people stay healthy,” said co-author Gregory Squires, sociology And said the professor of public policy. University.

Source: George Washington University, news release, September 8, 2021

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