06/06/2013 08:14 am ET Updated Jun 06, 2013

Neighborhood Food Options Could Influence Obesity Risk


What are the food options like in your neighborhood? They could be a huge predictor for obesity, according to a new study.

Researchers from the Drexel University School of Public Health found that people with healthy food options within a mile of their homes were less likely to become obese over a five-year period, compared with people who had to travel at least a mile away from home to get healthy food.

For the study, published in the journal Obesity, researchers followed 4,008 adults from six cities, all of whom were not obese at the start of the study. All the study participants gave information about nearby healthy food options, and walkability of their neighborhoods.

After five years, 406 of the people in the study had become obese -- but researchers found that there were associations between becoming obese and having healthy food outside of a one-mile proximity to the study participants' homes.

Researchers also found an association between walkability of the neighborhood and obesity, but they said that this link only held true in association with healthy food availability.

However, neighborhood walkability has been shown in previous studies to be linked with health. A study in the journal Diabetes Care that came out last year showed that people who live in walk-unfriendly neighborhoods have a 50 percent higher diabetes risk, compared with people who live in walk-friendly neighborhoods.



What Calorie Amounts Really Look Like