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Neighborhood features could prevent obesity
Date:6/4/2013

PHILADELPHIA (June 4, 2013) Living in a neighborhood that supports a healthy lifestyle can make a measurable difference in preventing obesity, according to a longitudinal study recently published in the journal Obesity.

The five-year study found that significantly fewer people became obese when living in neighborhoods with healthier food environments, compared to those who had fewer healthy food options within a mile of their homes.

Previous cross-sectional "snapshot" studies have shown that healthier, less-obese people are more likely to live in neighborhoods with supermarkets and access to fresh food, and to some extent in neighborhoods that are walkable.

"Interpretation of results from cross-sectional analyses is limited since that type of study can't determine whether weight gain preceded the neighborhood exposure" said researcher Dr. Amy Auchincloss, an assistant professor in the Drexel University School of Public Health. Auchincloss and her co-authors consider their new study's results more robust than much of the other work to date on neighborhood risk factors and obesity. They selected participants not obese and baseline and tracked who became obese during a five-year follow-up period and they accounted for person-level factors that could influence both health status and neighborhood choice.

Auchincloss led the new study with co-authors from University of Michigan School of Public Health, University of California Berkeley, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Gramercy Research Group.

The researchers analyzed health data from 4,008 adults from six cities across the United States, followed over a period of five years as part of a larger Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. The study participants completed surveys about qualities of the area surrounding their homes: To what extent are healthy foods available nearby? And how walkable do they perceive the neighborhood to be?

During the five-year study period, 406 of the pa
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Contact: Rachel Ewing
raewing@drexel.edu
215-895-2614
Drexel University
Source:Eurekalert

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