The Urban Burden on your Health
How city life can have negative impacts on YOUr health
Big city…better opportunities…a richer life. If you’ve lived in a place more urban than your hometown for at least a couple of years, it may now be impossible to imagine living your life anywhere else. The lights, sounds, smells…you happily embrace the assault on your senses. The convenience that big cities offer — a grocery run, a visit to the nearest clinic, or a meal at your favourite restaurant — are just a ride away.
The much-aspired ‘life in a metro’ seems like the ultimate dream, right? Time to wake up…because it may be doing more harm than good for your health.
Imagine any major city on the globe. Tall buildings, crowds, traffic, pollution…if these are the images that pop up in your head among other things, then you’re quite familiar with the problem.
These images are the hallmarks of any city that may make you more vulnerable to various adverse health conditions. Living in a crowded city with low access to green spaces may demotivate you to take an outdoor stroll or even step outside the house to exercise. Being stuck in traffic could be a major (and daily) source of stress, which in turn is linked with the risk of heart disease and poor mental health. Air pollution, a part of the big-city-package, slowly destroys your lungs and is also associated with heart disease. Even noise pollution is linked with detrimental health impacts, from hearing loss to stress-related fatigue. One study found that road traffic noise was linked with an 8% higher risk of coronary artery disease.
No doubt, cities are the gateways to a comfortable, cushy lifestyle. But are they the gateways to a healthy lifestyle? Ask yourself — how many times have you taken the car/motorbike to get to a place that is easily walkable? Or how many times have you turned to ordering in your meals because you were too swamped to cook? If it’s too many times to count, you are not alone. Most other city-dwellers are also on the same boat. With the demanding nature of city life, it is easy to overlook your eating habits. City life has also intensified the overdependence on cars, leading to increasingly sedentary lifestyles characterized by physical inactivity. These behaviours are major risk factors for conditions like heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. Research from many countries has shown that urban residents are more likely to be overweight or obese compared to rural residents.
So, don’t let the economic prosperity offered by city life make you compromise on your physical and mental health! Watch what you eat, move more, look after your mental well-being. Remember, the only person who can keep YOU the healthiest is YOU!
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