For decades, the assumption has been that living in a city is a detriment to your health. Skeptics ask why anyone would choose to live in a crowded, noisy urban environment when you could escape all that in the suburbs. The suburbs can be an attractive offer for many but it may not be as good for your overall health as you may have been led to believe.
A recent study by the University of Hong Kong and the University of Oxford shows that rates of obesity are lower where population is denser, i.e. cities. In addition, people who live in cities socialize more often than suburban folk, which is part of an overall healthy lifestyle. The higher levels of socializing in cities can also have significant mental health benefits.
One characteristic of city living that further 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. Plus, being closely surrounded by others means that you will spend more time with people 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.