Where you live has a bigger impact on happiness and health than you might imagine

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

An article published in the New England Journal of Medicine reports that when it comes to premature death, genetics has only a 30 percent influence; the other 70 percent is attributed to non­genetic factors such as environment, access to health care and individual behaviors…

Online tools can help reveal health risks of geographic locations: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention maps chronic-disease risk factors for 500 American cities; the University of Cincinnati has a Web page about the quality of drinking water for major metropolitan areas; the Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index ranks the happiest areas of the country; and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation website shows life expectancy by Zip code.

But the best tool may be Google Maps or real estate websites such as Zillow’s, says Blatt. The zoom feature allows you to evaluate whether a neighborhood is set up to help you make healthy choices. When relocating, “think about how your health vulnerabilities match up against potential exposures and triggers,” Miranda advises.

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