Even Your Neighborhood Can Be The Obesity "Culprit"
An old cliché says you are what you eat – and new studies suggest you are where you live, too.
adults who live in neighborhoods with a high-density of fast-food
outlets were more likely to be obese compared to those in neighborhoods
with fewer fast-food outlets, and that making frequent visits to these
businesses was associated with a higher likelihood of being obese,
found the study presented during the recent 55th Annual Meeting of the
American College of Sports Medicine.
research study focused on the positive correlations between fast-food
restaurants and obesity rates in older adults, and between
exercise-friendly environments and physical activity levels in
Li, Ph.D., and his colleagues found also found that non-Hispanic black
residents and low-income residents were more likely to be obese in
relation to fast-food outlet density, as were those who do not meet
physical activity recommendations.
from this study suggest the negative impact of densely distributed
fast-food outlets," Li said. "Although eating habits are considered a
matter of personal choice, an increasingly "obesogenic" food
environment may influence those choices. Therefore, simply focusing on
encouraging people to change their lifestyles, including healthy eating
practices and increasing physical activity, is insufficient. Measures
are also need to improve the food environment to support people in
making such changes."
recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise five days
per week for healthy adults. Overweight or obese individuals, or those
who are striving to maintain weight loss, may need to exercise as many
as 60 to 90 minutes per day.
physical activity recommendations are more likely to be met if
individuals live in an environment that is conducive to exercise,
referred to as a "built" environment, as evidenced in a study led by
Dianne Ward, Ed.D., FACSM.
and her study team examined physical activity patterns in more than
1,200 high school-age girls, divided into groups based on whether or
not the girls’ high schools were near activity-friendly areas.
Girls at high schools in rural areas without many nearby opportunities
for physical activity were less likely to accumulate vigorous physical
activity than others.
addition to the differences we saw between schools with and without
nearby physical opportunities, there were also disparities among
racial, education and income groups," Ward said. "More studies need to
be done on the differences in physical activity amounts among these
demographics, and what can be done to encourage them to get enough
has previously published studies showing young girls exhibit much lower
levels of physical activity and fitness than boys, and that these
differences tend to increase during adolescence.
American College of Sports Medicine is dedicated to advancing and
integrating scientific research to provide educational and practical
applications of exercise science and sports medicine.
For more information on American College of Sports Medicine, visit www.acsm.org.