As opposed to suburb or rural lifestyles, living in the city is more commonly associated with health risks. Find out what these risks are and why you may be more susceptible to them.
Living in the city has its perks. For one, there are more job opportunities in the city compared to the suburbs. Moreover, urbanized areas have more entertainment options, attractions, social possibilities, establishments, convenience, and of course, excitement. But on the other side of these perks are health risks that city dwellers are more susceptible to, such as:
Effects of air pollution
Cities have more vehicles belching out pollutants in the air, not to mention the emissions made by factories and sewer systems. Long-term exposure to air pollutants can increase your risk of heart disease, lung cancer, and respiratory ailments including emphysema and asthma. In the worst cases, air pollution can cause birth defects and even premature death.
If you have a weakened immune system or preexisting chronic conditions, your illnesses can be aggravated by air pollution. Hence, if you suspect that you have a chronic condition, it is recommended that you visit a healthcare franchise for a check-up as soon as possible.
In the city, there is easy access to high-calorie foods and an abundance of various food establishments. However, the average city dweller barely gets enough exercise to make up for the unhealthy food they eat throughout the day, hence the rising rates of obesity in urban areas.
If you live in the city, the acquisition of food is made more convenient by delivery services and the proximity of food sources like convenience stores and fast-food restaurants. That said, it can be difficult to maintain a healthy weight when you are constantly exposed to poor food choices and have limited access to fresh, healthy food. But even then, avoiding obesity is not entirely impossible. Here are the best ways you can maintain a healthy weight despite living in the city:
If you are underweight, overweight, or obese, speak with a registered dietitian who can help you attain a healthy weight
- Be mindful of your food choices and avoid choosing convenience over the quality of your food
- Control your temptations; learn how to steer clear from calorie-dense foods with poor nutritional value
- Increase your physical activity by walking to work or exercising at home
High levels of stress
The constant rat race in the city is a key driver in high stress levels of the people who live in it. Common examples of stressors in the city include:
- Work or school
- Noise pollution
- High cost of living
- Heavy traffic
- Excessive stimuli
- Fast-paced lifestyle
- High competition
- Dense population
- Lack of sleep
Although stress is a normal feeling that cannot always be avoided, excessive levels of stress are a cause for concern. When you are constantly stressed, you have an increased risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, digestive problems, weakened immune system, and mental illnesses. Apart from that, you may start to experience problems with your work performance, relationships with others, and your self-esteem, among other aspects of your life.
In a densely populated area like the big city, you are exposed to communicable diseases almost every day. On public transport, at work, in establishments–bacteria, viruses, and pathogens may be present in the air or on the surfaces that you touch. Hence, you are more prone to catching illnesses such as colds, flu, hepatitis, and tuberculosis, just to name a few.
This is especially true if you have a weak immune system or underlying health conditions that make you more susceptible to communicable diseases. To avoid getting sick, always practice proper hygiene, strengthen your immune system, and go to the doctor for regular check-ups.
In the city, people usually have easier access to alcohol, cigarettes, and illicit drugs. Needless to say, abusing these substances opens up a whole new world of both physical and mental problems for the one addicted to them. For instance, long-term alcohol abuse leads to hypertension, stroke, heart attack, anemia, depression, anxiety, and much more. Illicit drug abuse can cause a weakened immune system, heart disease, lung disease, and even premature death.
Seeing as city dwellers experience higher levels of stress than those in suburban or rural areas, a lot of people turn to these substances to relieve stress. And although some people may not fall into a full-blown addiction, the use of these substances can still bring about the same health consequences.
The biggest disadvantage of living in the city is being exposed to all of these health risks and more. Nevertheless, you can avoid compromising your health by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, managing your stress, and learning how to avoid these risks altogether without having to leave the city.