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Greater access to fast-food eateries increases risk of diabetes ─Study

Fast Foods

*Experts say consumers have a higher chance of developing diabetes when they have greater access to fast foods, and this health risk persists across the United States

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Researchers from New York University (NYU) Langone Health in a new study found that consumers’ proximity to fast-food restaurants may come with health risks.

According to their findings, consumers have a higher chance of developing diabetes when they have greater access to fast food.

Rania Kanchi,MPH, one of the researchers, said: “Most studies examine the built food environment and its relationship to chronic diseases have been much smaller or conducted in localised areas.

“Our study design is national in scope and allowed us to identify the types of communities that people are living in, characterise the food environment, and observe what happens to them over time.

“The size of our cohort allows for geographic generalisability in a way that other studies do not.”

In determining how the proximity of fast-food restaurants induces more  cases of diabetes for the study, the researchers analysed data from nine million people from the US Veterans Health Administration, agency report said.

The team tracked the participants’ health for around five years and evaluated the types of restaurants that were in their neighborhoods.

The researchers learned that participants had a higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes when there were more fast-food restaurants close to their homes.

Over the course of the study, over 13 percent of the participants developed diabetes.

Those who lived in high-density urban areas typically resided within one mile of a fast-food restaurant.

Among the participants who lived in these neighborhoods, more than 14 percent developed diabetes.

Comparatively, 12.6 percent of those who lived in more rural areas and had to drive to the nearest fast-food restaurant also developed diabetes.

Going forward, the researchers hope these findings prompt changes that could benefit consumers’ long-term health.

Researcher Lorna Thorpe, Ph.D, also said: “The more we learn about the relationships between the food environment and chronic diseases like Type 2 diabetes, the more policymakers can act by improving the mix of healthy food options sold in restaurants and food outlets, or by creating better zoning laws that promote optimal food options for residents.”

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