Housing can have a profound impact on your health. Having a house to live in is one thing. Making sure you are healthy, and ensuring the house you live in makes you healthier is a whole lot different. About 90 percent of an average American’s time is spent indoors, and two-thirds of that time is spent in the home. Very young children spend even more time at home. There are household hazards that we are vulnerable to and housing-related factors that can potentially harm or help our health.
Here are three important aspects of housing that relate to your health.
1. Physical Conditions within Your Home
A safe and healthy home, void of hazard, promotes good physical and mental health. If you have poor home conditions such as poor air quality, lead paint, or other hazards, you could be placing children and families at great risk of chronic diseases and injuries. For instance, lead poisoning irreversibly affects brain and nervous system development, resulting in lower intelligence and causing reading disabilities.
Also, water leaks, poor ventilation, dirty carpets, and pest infestation can increase mold, mites, rats, and other allergens. Extreme low and high temperatures have also been associated with increased cardiovascular disease and mortality risks, especially among vulnerable populations. Incidents of respiratory infections and tuberculosis have also been linked to overcrowding in homes.
2. Neighborhood Conditions
Humans need interaction. The physical, social, and economic features in your neighborhood can also influence your health. For instance, a neighborhood may provide a place free from crime, pollution, and violence, for children and adults to recreate, which in turn will promote short and long-term health quality. A neighborhood can promote healthy eating if there is access to fresh food and not as many liquor and fast-food outlets.
If your neighborhood has good schools, efficient transportation, and an effective police presence, that may enhance your family’s social and economic health. Variation in access to these features across neighborhoods is responsible for racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic disparities in health.
3. Housing Affordability
We all want affordable houses. Normally, housing is considered affordable when a family spends less than 30 percent of its income on renting or buying a residence. However, there are fewer affordable houses, which relegates low-income earners to overcrowded and unsafe housing where there are fewer health promotion resources such as bike paths, parking lots, green parks, and recreation centers. The economic strain of high housing costs on low-income people often makes them trade-off good food, heating, and other basic needs.
Studies have shown that people who struggle paying rent, mortgage, or utility bills are less likely to have a consistent medical care source and are more likely to postpone treatment or use the emergency room for treatment. Studies also showed that children in areas with unaffordable housing tend to have worse health, more behavioral problems, and lower school performance. This highlights the impact of housing on health. Before moving into a new neighborhood, you should consider the potential impact on your health and safety.
Your home is the center of your lifestyle and a major contributor to your health. To discuss ways to protect your home and family with an insurance plan, talk to the professionals at J. Archer Insurance Group. As an independent insurance agency, we have access to a range of carriers to ensure that you get the right policy for your family and needs. Serving Houston, Texas and beyond, contact us today.