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      Is Living in a High-Rise Building Bad for Your Self-Rated Health?

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          Abstract

          While the construction of high-rise buildings is a popular policy strategy for accommodating population growth in cities, there is still much debate about the health consequences of living in high flats. This study examines the relationship between living in high-rise buildings and self-rated health in Belgium. We use data from the Belgian Census of 2001, merged with the National Register of Belgium ( N = 6,102,820). Results from multilevel, binary logistic regression analyses show that residents living in high-rise buildings have considerable lower odds to have a good or very good self-rated health in comparison with residents in low-rise buildings (OR 0.67; 95 % CI 0.67–0.68). However, this negative relationship disappears completely after adjusting for socioeconomic and demographic variables (OR 1.04; 95 % CI 1.03–1.05), which suggests that residents’ worse self-rated health in high-rise buildings can be explained by the strong demographic and socioeconomic segregation between high- and low-rise buildings in Belgium. In addition, there is a weak, but robust curvilinear relationship between floor level and self-rated health within high-rise buildings. Self-rated health increases until the sixth floor (OR 1.19; 95 % CI 1.15–1.24) and remains stable from the seventh floor and upwards. These findings refute one of the central ideas in architectural sciences that living in high buildings is bad for one’s health.

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          Author and article information

          Contributors
          pieterpaul.verhaeghe@ugent.be
          Journal
          J Urban Health
          J Urban Health
          Journal of Urban Health : Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine
          Springer US (New York )
          1099-3460
          1468-2869
          15 August 2016
          October 2016
          : 93
          : 5
          : 884-898
          Affiliations
          Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium
          Article
          PMC5052143 PMC5052143 5052143 66
          10.1007/s11524-016-0066-5
          5052143
          27528569
          © The New York Academy of Medicine 2016
          Funding
          Funded by: FundRef http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/501100007229, Bijzonder Onderzoeksfonds;
          Award ID: B/13836/01
          Award ID: BOF.PDO.14.0032.01
          Award Recipient :
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          Article
          Custom metadata
          © The New York Academy of Medicine 2016

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