Maybe there’s something about those salty sea breezes? New research shows that coastal populations tend to have better health than people who live inland.
The study – led by researchers from the European Centre for Environment & Human Health, Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Exeter – determined people are more likely to have good health the closer they live to the sea, based on an analysis of 2001 U.K. census data.
The analysis also showed that the link between good health and coastal living was strongest in the most economically deprived communities.
"We know that people usually have a good time when they go to the beach, but there is strikingly little evidence of how spending time at the coast can affect health and wellbeing,” noted lead researcher Dr. Ben Wheeler. “By analyzing data for the whole population, our research suggests that there is a positive effect…[but] we need to carry out more sophisticated studies to try to unravel the reasons that may explain the relationship we're seeing.”
The census data that informed the study findings involved 48 million people. Researchers tracked people who reported their health as being "good" (or "fairly good or "not good") and then examined how close those respondents lived to the coast to determine coastal residents were healthier than those living inland.
Past studies have suggested coastal environments may offer better opportunities for people to be active and reduce stress levels by spending time near the sea.