Living near Fast Food Restaurants May Not Cause Obesity
A new research study suggests that adults who live near fast food joints may not be more overweight than others who don’t. These are the findings of a 30-year research project on Massachusetts adults. Many previous studies had found that people living near fast food restaurants tend to be more overweight or obese. A few other studies had not found any link.
Link Found Among Women
In this study, the researchers monitored greater than 3,100 adults from 1971. They found no link between distance to fast food restaurants and the weight of the participants over 30 years. But, there was a link found among women. The researchers found lower BMI among women who lived further away from fast food joints. They surmise that each kilometer distance away from a fast food restaurant reduces an average woman’s weight by a pound. The researchers say this finding is not important.
Healthy Choices are Important
Health experts say proximity is just one aspect of the obesity epidemic. More attention should be paid to the choices people make at grocery stores, restaurants and other outlets. These findings were published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
During the 30 years of the study, the participants underwent regular physical checkups and were also periodically interviewed. The researchers collected data on all neighborhood grocery stores, restaurants and other food places. They also calculated the distance between participants’ homes and the nearest store or restaurant.
Important for Low-Income Americans
This research topic is especially important for low-income Americans. For this category, it is important they have a quality grocery store close by so that they do not rely on food in convenience stores. This is because most low-income people do not have a car and rely on public transport. But, the latest study lacks information on participants’ incomes. The researchers next plan to analyze whether drive-by fast food temptations have an effect on consumers’ weight.