Healthy urban living: Residential environment and health of older adults in Shanghai

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Abstract

A healthy residential environment, especially for older adults, has emerged as an important issue on political and planning agenda in China. This paper aims to investigate the direct and indirect impact of residential environment on the health of older adults in Shanghai, taking into account health-related behaviours, subjective well-being and socio-demographic factors in one comprehensive conceptual model. Our results show that the residential environment is associated with older adults’ health directly, and also indirectly through a series of significant behavioural (physical and social activities) and perceptual (subjective well-being) factors. After combining the direct and indirect association, the results show that good housing and neighbourhood quality and a safe social environment contribute to better subjective, physical and mental health conditions of older adults. In addition, access to cultural facilities is positively related to older adults’ mental and physical health and subjective well-being, while a higher proportion of older adults in a neighbourhood appears to promote physical and social activities but not health.

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