High-rise living can increase your life expectancy, new research in the European Journal of Epidemiology reveals. In a study of over 1.5 million high-rise building occupants, ground-floor residents were found to have a 40% higher risk of dying from severe lung disease, and 35% higher chance of dying from heart disease, compared to residents on the eighth floor or above. The study was designed to shed light on the link between the influence of housing on health.
22% greater risk of early death
In total, ground-floor residents were found to have a 22% larger risk of dying earlier from all causes, compared to eighth-floor residents and higher, with lung and heart-related conditions being the most common culprits. Since high-rise residents typically take the stairs often, they may have better cardiovascular health, which potentially protects against disease, the researchers noted. Increased traffic and air pollution at ground level may also play a role. Moreover, suicide was the only cause of death that increased with high-rise living: ground-floor occupants were nearly 60% less likely to die via jumping.
Importance of cleanliness
Cleanliness also plays a key role in mental and physical health. For example, a study at Indiana University found people with clean homes are healthier than those with cluttered homes. Researchers monitored the health of nearly 1,000 African Americans aged between 49-65, a demographic with increased heart disease risk. Participants with clean, tidy homes were healthier than those with messy homes, and “house cleanliness was even more of a predictor for physical health than neighborhood walkability”. Moreover, harmful germs, bacteria, and allergens are also less of an issue in clean homes, which further helps protect health. Regular and efficient cleaning is therefore also key in communal areas like lobbies, restrooms, and kitchens to maintain excellent levels of hygiene for residents. Learn more about human longevity at Longevity120.health
Wealthier people are typically healthier
Notably, high-rise housing has become increasingly commonplace in the luxury real estate market in recent years. “The reputation of high-rise housing as unpleasant and unhealthy habitats that isolate people from their social environment and increase crime continues to the present”, the researchers stated. “But there has been a revival in recent years and unlike the tower blocks of the sixties and seventies, these are often glitzy buildings in prime locations”. Affluent high-rise residents typically have better access to healthcare and nutritious food, which therefore results in better health, the researchers noted. The results of the study, which was conducted in Switzerland, one of the world’s richest nations, would likely be different if it was conducted in a poorer country. “Clearly, our results are not applicable to tower blocks in deprived areas, where high-rise housing tends to be in poor condition”, they said.
In some cases, however, high-rise living isn’t always better for health. In a Spanish study, for example, high-rise apartments were found to increase hay fever, particularly when compared to homes in rural areas. So, although high-rise living is generally good for health, it’s not ideal for people with allergies.