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Study: Living Close to the Coast Has Health Benefits

Update Date: Jul 17, 2012 09:28 AM EDT

Living close to the sea is not just good for the scenic beauty, but it is also good for the health, say researchers from Devon and Cornwall.

Also, it is not just those who live in the country side who have the advantage, but even those live in the nearby cities get the benefits.  

The effect is actually mostly felt by people living in coastal cities like Newcastle and Southampton, compared to inland ones like Birmingham and Leeds, reports the Telegraph.

Ben Wheeler, a public health expert from the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry at Exeter University, said that residing close to the sea certainly has a calming effect on people but he said that it is still unclear as to how much it had to do with salty air.

For the study, Wheeler and colleagues analyzed information from 2001 census to study and compare the difference in the health of people who lived close by and far away from the sea in England.  

The study results revealed that only 69 per cent respondents rated their health as "good" and it seems, people living closer to the coast (within 5 km) were more likely to rate their health when compared to those living more than 30 miles (50km) inland, said the report.

Respondents rating their health as good were found to be living up to 20-50km from the sea, although the effect kept deteriorating with the distance.  

 "You don't have to have a sea view to benefit," said Dr Wheeler.

Study results suggest that even if people live close by or far away, it was important how often they what was important was how frequently they went to the coast, and how woven it was into their lives. It showed that living near the sea benefits the city dwelling and poor people the most, those who nationally suffer the worst health and do the lest exercise.

During the analysis, the age and wealth variations between different areas' populations were considered.

The study considered both rural and urban areas and was published in the journal Health and Place.

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