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Body mass index of low income African-Americans linked to proximity of fast food restaurants
Date:5/16/2013

HOUSTON African-American adults living closer to a fast food restaurant had a higher body mass index (BMI) than those who lived further away from fast food, according to researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, and this association was particularly strong among those with a lower income.

A new study published online in the American Journal of Public Health indicates higher BMI associates with residential proximity to a fast food restaurant, and among lower-income African-Americans, the density, or number, of fast food restaurants within two miles of the home.

The study was led by Lorraine Reitzel, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Health Disparities Research at MD Anderson. Data was collected from a large sample of more than 1,400 black adult participants from the Project CHURCH research study, a collaboration between MD Anderson and Windsor Village United Methodist Church in Houston one of the largest Methodist churches in the United States.

"According to prior research, African-Americans, particularly women, have higher rates of obesity than other ethnic groups, and the gap is growing," said Reitzel. "The results of this study add to the literature indicating that a person's neighborhood environment and the foods that they're exposed to can contribute to a higher BMI."

Reitzel said that this is an important population group for researchers to examine because of the health consequences that are associated with obesity among African-Americans including diabetes, cancer and heart disease. "We need to find the relationships and triggers that relate to this population's BMI, as they're at the greatest risk for becoming obese and developing associated health problems," said Reitzel. "Such information can help inform policies and interventions to prevent health disparities."

In this study, Reitzel and her team examined two different food environment variables and their a
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Contact: Katrina Burton
kburton@mdanderson.org
713-792-8034
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
Source:Eurekalert

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