Walking neighborhoods may fend off depression, study says

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Older men who can walk in their neighborhood have a lower risk of depression than those in less pedestrian-friendly areas, a new study finds.

Researchers studied 740 older adults in the Seattle area. Men who lived in walkable areas had lower scores on a standard measure of depression even when other factors, such as overall health, income and exercise habits, were taken into account. Findings appeared in the Journal of American Geriatrics Society.

One explanation is these neighborhoods allow older adults to feel more connected to their communities and less socially isolated, the lead researcher said. Walkable neighborhoods had sidewalks, streets with safe intersections, and stores, restaurants and other destinations within a short distance.