City-dwellers are healthier and happier than those in the suburbs, study finds

City living could be good for your health (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

Forget about the suburban idyll – city living makes for a healthier, happier life, according to new research.

The study, by Oxford University and the University of Hong Kong (UHK), found that human wellbeing is enhanced by socialising and being physically active, things that tend to happen more when living in close proximity to others.

The study found that, in 22 British cities, residents of built-up residential areas exercised more and had lower levels of obesity than those in suburban homes.

It compared more than 400,000 city-dwellers, and found the healthiest communities were in areas with more than 32 homes per hectare, which is the average density for new builds in Britain.

Its authors hope their findings will encourage politicians to promote built-up city living, the benefits of which are often overlooked.

High-density living has many benefits, the study has found (REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo)

Co-author Chinmoy Sarkar, assistant professor at UHK, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation: “If we can convince policy makers that this is a public health opportunity, we can build well-designed communities, and in the long term, you have made a big difference in health outcomes.

“With evidence, we can plan multi-functional, attractive neighbourhoods that promote physical activity, promote social interaction, and shield from negatives such as pollution and feeling unsafe.”

MORE: Saudi King left red-faced on arrival in Russia when gold escalator breaks down
MORE: Convicted sex offender admits to police he can’t stop himself

The study showed that areas with 18 homes per hectare – often in poorer neighbourhoods – had the greatest rates of obesity and lowest rates of exercise.

Suburban areas with few homes – usually privileged communities with spacious gardens – were healthier, but still lagged behind the most densely populated areas in inner cities.

London is one of Europe’s most sparsely populated major cities, with less than half the density of Madrid, Barcelona and Paris. The paper highlighted the capital’s mansion blocks and terraced streets as examples of built-up areas that foster a strong sense of neighborhood.

Sarkar called on the government to halt plans, announced earlier this year, to build 17 new towns on villages in the countryside to ease the current housing shortage.

  • Need to ammend agreement if royalty to states is based on profit, Kuala Terengganu MP
    News
    New Straits Times

    Need to ammend agreement if royalty to states is based on profit, Kuala Terengganu MP

    KUALA LUMPUR: The agreement between Petronas and Terengganu which was inked in 1975 must be ammended if the 20 per cent royalty payment to oil producing states is based on the profit obtained from the state concerned. Kuala Terengganu member of parliament Ahmad Amzad Hashim said the agreement which

  • Trump’s True Feelings About Russian Election Interference Are Clear
    News
    HuffPost

    Trump’s True Feelings About Russian Election Interference Are Clear

    In February, Adm. Mike Rogers, then chief of the U.S. Cyber Command, was asked

  • News
    AFP News

    Indian Muslim transporting cows dies after mob attack

    A Muslim man died early Saturday after he was attacked by vigilantes while transporting cows in western India's Rajasthan state, police said. India has witnessed a spate of lynchings by Hindu extremist "cow vigilantes" targeting Muslims and low-caste Dalits accused of killing cows or eating

  • Spanish ship returns home after dramatic migrant rescue
    News
    AFP News

    Spanish ship returns home after dramatic migrant rescue

    Two vessels of a Spanish NGO involved in rescuing migrants in the Mediterranean arrived in the Spanish port of Palma on Saturday carrying a woman found drifting on a deflated dinghy off Libya as well as the bodies of a boy and another woman. The two ships of Proactiva Open Arms were escorted to the

  • 'The Late Show' Imagines How The Queen Could Have Thrown Shade At Trump
    News
    HuffPost

    'The Late Show' Imagines How The Queen Could Have Thrown Shade At Trump

    Queen Elizabeth set Twitter alight with her brooches during Donald Trump's

  • Terengganu 'kitchen-by-the-beach' concept eateries a hit with tourists
    News
    New Straits Times

    Terengganu 'kitchen-by-the-beach' concept eateries a hit with tourists

    KUALA NERUS: The unique ‘kitchen-by-the-beach’ concept eateries of Dapo Pata Uptown Kontena in Tok Jembal, Kuala Terengganu, are proving to be a hit with tourists. Dapo pata is the way dapur pantai (beach kitchen) is pronounced in the local lingo. The cluster of eateries overlooking a lagoon in the

  • Hardworking Cambodian shoe maker has little time for politics
    News
    Reuters

    Hardworking Cambodian shoe maker has little time for politics

    Whoever wins Cambodia's general election next week, 27-year-old Khen Srey Touch knows only that she will have to keep working hard for years to come. "I am the main breadwinner of the house," Khen Srey Touch told a Reuters photographer who spent a few days with her family in their village

  • Putrajaya may revive Parliamentary Service Act, says Dewan Rakyat deputy speaker
    News
    Malay Mail

    Putrajaya may revive Parliamentary Service Act, says Dewan Rakyat deputy speaker

    IPOH, July 21 — The government is considering re-introducing the Parliamentary Service Act 1963 to give Parliament autonomy over its administration, Dewan Rakyat Deputy Speaker Nga Kor Ming said...

  • Gaza truce largely holds after Israeli strikes over soldier death
    News
    AFP News

    Gaza truce largely holds after Israeli strikes over soldier death

    A ceasefire announced by Hamas largely held Saturday after a wave of deadly air strikes across the Palestinian enclave sparked by the death of an Israeli soldier shot near the border. Israel did not confirm the deal announced by Gaza's Islamist rulers, which went into effect around midnight Friday

  • France, Russia send humanitarian aid to Syria for Ghouta victims
    News
    AFP News

    France, Russia send humanitarian aid to Syria for Ghouta victims

    France and Russia on Saturday despatched a plane carrying humanitarian aid to the ravaged former Syrian rebel enclave of Eastern Ghouta, which was retaken by government forces in April after a five-year siege. A Russian Antonov 124 military cargo plane carrying 50 tons of medical aid and humanitarian

  • Xi ends state visit to UAE with raft of deals signed
    News
    AFP News

    Xi ends state visit to UAE with raft of deals signed

    The United Arab Emirates on Saturday said it agreed to set up a "comprehensive strategic partnership" with China as President Xi Jinping wrapped up a three-day visit to the Gulf country. "The UAE and China have agreed to enhance cooperation in all fields to higher levels and forge overall

  • Govt to form special committee to study unemployment among youth
    News
    New Straits Times

    Govt to form special committee to study unemployment among youth

    KUALA LUMPUR: The Ministry of Youth and Sports plans to set up a special committee to resolve unemployment among youth and ensure quality jobs for them. Its minister Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman said the new government takes youth employment very seriously and the government wanted to ensure every youth

  • Thousands protest Australia's refugee detention policy
    News
    AFP News

    Thousands protest Australia's refugee detention policy

    The government sends anyone who tries to enter the country by sea to camps on Papua New Guinea's Manus Island or on Nauru in the Pacific for processing. Protestors took to the streets to mark the fifth anniversary of the policy's reintroduction, when in 2013 Canberra significantly toughened

  • State-actors likely behind Singapore cyberattack: experts
    News
    AFP News

    State-actors likely behind Singapore cyberattack: experts

    State-actors were likely behind Singapore's biggest ever cyberattack to date, security experts say, citing the scale and sophistication of the hack. The city-state announced Friday that hackers had broken into a government database and stolen the health records of 1.5 million Singaporeans, including

  • Money politics have gone mainstream, says academic
    News
    Malay Mail

    Money politics have gone mainstream, says academic

    KUALA LUMPUR, July 21 — Universiti Malaya (UM) academic Professor Edmund Terence Gomez has observed that money politics within political parties have spread out and affected national level politics...

  • Israel, Hamas agree to restore calm in Gaza - Hamas
    News
    Reuters

    Israel, Hamas agree to restore calm in Gaza - Hamas

    Hamas said on Saturday it had agreed a truce with Israel in the Gaza Strip, a day after clashes killed an Israeli soldier and four Palestinians along the border. Israel's army declined to comment on the reported ceasefire, but a spokeswoman said there was no known military activity in the area.

  • Wildlife park birthday treat for young cancer patient
    News
    New Straits Times

    Wildlife park birthday treat for young cancer patient

    PENAMPANG: A boy who is battling bone cancer was in high spirits when he received an advanced birthday treat at the Lok Kawi Wildlife Park. Addrick Yong Kin Hong, 11, also got a chance to celebrate the occasion with a special appearance by Marvel superhero “Iron Man”. Yong, who is from Kampung Sumbilingon

  • Stephen Colbert Suggests Menu Choices For Putin White House Visit
    News
    HuffPost

    Stephen Colbert Suggests Menu Choices For Putin White House Visit

    Stephen Colbert scoffed at President Donald Trump's White House invite to

  • Dr Wan Azizah vows to stop infant deaths
    News
    Malay Mail

    Dr Wan Azizah vows to stop infant deaths

    KUALA LUMPUR, July 21 — Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail promised to put a stop to cases of infants dying under the care of babysitters. Dr Wan Azizah, who is also the...

  • Gaza truce holds after Israeli strikes over soldier death
    News
    AFP News

    Gaza truce holds after Israeli strikes over soldier death

    A ceasefire announced by Hamas largely held Saturday after a wave of deadly strikes across the Palestinian enclave sparked by the death of an Israeli soldier shot near the border. Israel did not confirm the deal announced by Gaza's Islamist rulers Hamas, which went into effect around midnight Friday

  • Don’t just promote reform in ‘Bangsar bubble’, Wan Saiful tells NGOs
    News
    Malay Mail

    Don’t just promote reform in ‘Bangsar bubble’, Wan Saiful tells NGOs

    KUALA LUMPUR, July 21 — Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia political secretary Wan Saiful Wan Jan told civil society groups championing political financing reform to get a dose of reality by visiting...

  • Duck boat design flagged years ago after fatal accident in Arkansas
    News
    Reuters

    Duck boat design flagged years ago after fatal accident in Arkansas

    A Philadelphia lawyer who has advocated for victims of other duck boat disasters said the canopy roof on duck boats turned them into a "death trap" even for anyone wearing a life preserver. "You drown if you do, you drown if you don't," said Robert Mongeluzzi, who is calling

  • France sends medical aid to Assad's Syria after deal with Russia
    News
    Reuters

    France sends medical aid to Assad's Syria after deal with Russia

    France sent 50 tonnes of medical aid to government-controlled eastern Ghouta in Syria on Friday after Russia agreed to facilitate its delivery, raising hopes for future aid efforts, French officials said. The aid, which will arrive on a Russian plane to a Russian military base in northwestern Syria

  • NASA prepares to fly probe into Sun's scorching atmosphere
    News
    Reuters

    NASA prepares to fly probe into Sun's scorching atmosphere

    NASA is preparing to send a probe closer to the Sun than any other spacecraft has ventured, enduring wicked heat while zooming through the solar corona to study this outermost part of the stellar atmosphere that gives rise to the solar wind. The Parker Solar Probe, a robotic spacecraft the size of a

  • Ministry: Black school shoe ruling to be implemented in stages
    News
    Malay Mail

    Ministry: Black school shoe ruling to be implemented in stages

    KUALA LUMPUR, July 21 — The government’s move to change the iconic white school shoe to black ones will be implemented in stages to avoid inconveniencing parents and students, the Education...