Living near fast food joints ‘raises obesity risk’

June 18th, 2009 - 5:07 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, June 18 (ANI): A new study has confirmed what many people already knew: living near fast food restaurants can raise your chances of becoming obese.

While writing in the open access journal BMC Public Health, boffins have shown association between the ‘Retail Food Environment Index’ (RFEI) and levels of obesity.

John Spence from the University of Alberta, Canada who is part of the research team explains, ” The RFEI is based upon a ratio of the number of fast-food restaurants and convenience stores to supermarkets and specialty food stores in a given radius around a person’s house. We’ve shown that it correlates very well with the odds that that person may be obese”.

The availability of fast food and scarcity of outlets for natural ingredients within 800m of a person’s home was shown to be associated with weight, while the RFEI within a 1600m radius did not have the same effect, the study found.

According to Spence, “These findings may help explain the observation that geographic concentration of fast-food restaurants is associated with mortality and hospital admissions for acute coronary events in Canada”.

The authors suggest curbing flashy fast food joints for the better health of people living in that particular area.

They write, “A plausible policy option for decreasing the prevalence of obesity among adults is improving the retail food environment, possibly through zoning by-laws”. (ANI)

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