Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Sense of community 'cuts heart attack risk'

People with good neighbours and strong community ties are less likely to suffer heart attacks, new research suggests
People with good neighbours and strong community ties are less likely to suffer heart attacks, new research suggests

People with good neighbours and strong community ties are less likely to suffer heart attacks, new research suggests.

Researchers tracked the health of more than 5,000 American adults over the age of 50 with no known heart problems over four years from 2006.

At the start of the study, published in the Journal Epidemiology and Community Health, the participants were asked to describe how much they were part of their neighbourhood.

The "perceived neighbourhood social cohesion" survey saw participants answer the questions on a seven-point scale about their neighbours and community.

Of the 5,276 people studied, 148 had heart attacks during the four-year follow-up period.

After taking into account other contributing factors, researchers found that people have a reduced risk of heart attack if they responded positively to the questions. While the authors from the University of Michigan called for more research into the field, they said previous studies have linked better social support to improved heart health.

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