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PLoS One. 2018 Sep 27;13(9):e0204910. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0204910. eCollection 2018.

Neighborhood environments and self-rated health in Mainland China, Japan and South Korea.

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Department of Sociology, Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia, United States of America.
Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Criminal Justice, Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina, United States of America.
Office of the Provost, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, New York, United States of America.


Neighborhood environments are considered crucial determinants of self-rated health. Previous research has documented a positive association between the quality of neighborhood environments and health status. However, the relationship between neighborhood environments and health status in East Asian countries has received far less attention. This study examined the relationship between the three main types of neighborhood environments (built, natural, and social) and self-rated health in Mainland China, Japan, and South Korea. It also compared the neighborhood effects on self-rated health across the three countries. Our analytical sample included 3,675, 2,390, and 1,500 respondents in China, Japan, and South Korea respectively from the 2010 East Asian Social Survey. Ordinal Logistic Regression models were estimated for each country and the country differences were tested. This study found that neighborhood built, natural and social environments are positively associated with self-rated health in China, Japan and South Korea. These effects vary somewhat by country, and neighborhood social environment has the strongest association with self-rated health in Japan, followed by South Korea and then China. The similar relationship between perceived neighborhood environments and self-rated health across the three countries underscores the prevalent impact of perceived neighborhood environments on health. The greater association between social environment and self-rated health in Japan suggests the greater need of community based support system in an aging society not only for the older people, but also for the general population, especially those who are living in poor neighborhood social environment.

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