- Restrictions on travel outside the local area are linked to poorer self-reported health, according to a new survey-based study of the UK population.
- In contrast, those who traveled away from home reported better health.
- One reason may be that when a person is unable to travel, they also have less social interaction, which can lead to feelings of loneliness.
- The study focused on northern England, which has poorer health outcomes than the rest of England and has limited transport services outside metropolitan areas.
A new survey-based study by researchers at UCL’s Transport Research Center in the UK shows how people’s perceptions of travel – and barriers to travel – affect their health.
The study found that those who were restricted from traveling outside their local area or how much they wanted to travel reported poorer health, while those who were able to travel reported better health.
its discovery in Journal of Transportation and Health.
The researchers received funding for their research from Transport for the North, the UK transport agency.
The study defined out-of-local travel as 15 miles or 24 kilometers from home.
The study authors analyzed the responses of 2,747 residents from the north of England about their health and the travel restrictions they faced.
According to the researchers, this part of England has some of the worst health conditions in the country, and many areas lack adequate transport facilities.
Survey respondents were asked to report how much they agreed or disagreed with five questions, each addressing specific travel restrictions:
- “I travel internationally less frequently than ideal” – travel frequency restrictions
- “I’m going to fewer places (e.g. cities or towns outside my area) than I’d like” – limit on number of places traveled
- “I’m going closer than I most want to be” – travel distance restrictions
- “I take public transportation to the places I most want to go by car” – Restrictions on Traveling by Car
- “I drive where I most want to go by public transport” – this is the restriction on the use of public transport.
Based on survey responses, the authors concluded that those who were able to travel at least 15 miles from home, were able to travel more often, and visited more places were more likely to report better health.
The association between travel and health status was stronger among respondents aged 55 and over.
According to the lead author Dr. Paulo Anciaes, previous research has confirmed that the ability to travel increases employment and educational opportunities. He hopes to investigate the health effects of travel for the first time.
He said medical news today The north of England was chosen as the study area because it lagged behind the rest of the country. “As one of its main priorities, the government has’upgrade’ the north and other backward areas,” he said.
“Health outcomes have been worse [in the North] Dr. Anciaes noted, “Statistics and research suggest that this is largely due to lower income. Our study sought to uncover other possible causes. We found that the ability to travel is one of them.”
To assess the health effects of travel, Dr. Anciaes and his co-authors, Dr Paul Metcalfemployed a technique called “path analysis” that allowed them to observe the direct and indirect effects of one variable on another.
Lack of social opportunities is directly linked to poor health when the number of places people can go is limited, the researchers found.
On the other hand, restricted travel frequency has less negative health effects. That said, he said, “travel restrictions were significantly associated with social engagement, which in turn was significantly associated with self-reported health status.”
Traveling out of town can also have a direct impact on health quality, as it may give people access to more or even better health care options than closer to home.
Lifestyle Medicine Educator Dr Elizabeth Peg Flatswho was not involved in this study, told montreal:
“It’s clear that social connection is a basic human need. After we need water, food and shelter, we also need a sense of belonging or social connection.”
Dr Frates says there is a wealth of research describing the health effects of a lack of social connection: “
“Lonely has been
Dr. Frates co-authored an article American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine Describe the positive health benefits of social connections.
“This study shows,” said Dr. Anciaes, “that the possibility of travel is important for people’s health. This means that restrictions on travel need to be lifted.”
He cited such constraints as insufficient levels of transport services, especially in rural areas, and a lack of service after peak travel times of the day, weekends and during school holidays.
Transportation costs can also be an issue due to lack of physical safety, crowded facilities and inaccessibility for elderly and disabled passengers.
For those who would like to be able to drive more but are constrained by the cost of owning and using a car, Dr Anciaes suggested that authorities could “provide subsidies to poor families who live in areas without transport to use their own cars”. Public transit. “
Dr Anciaes noted that improving public transport would also reduce the number of vehicles on the road, making driving easier.
Dr. Patricia L. Mokhtarian A professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Civil and Environmental Engineering who was not involved in the study but echoed the importance of travel, told montreal Said unequivocally, “[f]Fundamentally, travel is essential to health and wellbeing – if we don’t move, we die. “
She acknowledged, however, that promoting travel is “somewhat of a policy/planning dilemma” given the environmental burden of increasing numbers of people traveling.
Nonetheless, Dr. Mokhtarian said, “[t]The benefits of well-being are manifold.Have [a] There is an extensive literature on the latter, including most my own work“