A recent study published in JAMA Network Open explains people who live in neighborhoods with more fast-food restaurants have a greater risk of chronic diseases including type 2 diabetes. The study report came when previous studies already have proven the reduced risk of diabetes in people who live in areas where physical activity and healthy foods are readily available.
Diabetes Risk In People Surrounded With More Fast Food Restaurants
One of the study authors, Rania Kanchi, a data analyst at New York University’s Langone Medical Center, Department of Public Health has stated that through the study, the researchers could conclude that the availability of fast-food restaurants is greatly associated with a risk of diabetes in people, no matter they belong to the urban, suburban or rural communities.
However, Ms. Kanchi further added that supermarkets are associated with a lesser risk of diabetes in both suburban and rural communities.
To conduct the study, more than 4 million US veterans were enrolled. These people were without type 2 diabetes and approximately had a median age of 59 as well. The researchers assessed neighborhood food environments by comparing the number of fast-food restaurants and supermarkets relative to their food outlets. This is how the researchers could gather information as well as figures related to the incidence of type 2 diabetes in different areas from time to time.
According to the research reports, a modest increase in the risk of type 2 diabetes is found in both urban and rural geographic areas where there are more fast-food restaurants. At the same time, suburban and rural areas with more supermarkets showed a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
Thus, Ms. Kanchi stated that the kind of food people choose to eat depends on the availability of food stores and restaurants in the neighborhood. Besides, the change of food culture as per the availability of food varieties is closely connected to the risk of chronic diseases that are nutrition-related.
The owner of Sound Bites Nutrition, Lisa Andrews stated that it is no surprise to see the report as neighborhoods with few supermarkets and many fast food spots can have a negative impact on human health. This is because these scenarios lead to an intake of fewer nutritious and processed foods with limited access to healthy foods including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, protein sources, as well as low-fat dairy products.
Ms. Andrews also added that people tend to eat more unhealthy foods when they have hardly any access to nutritious as well as affordable food because they have to rely on fast-food restaurants or other convenience stores to eat. So, the regular consumption of high-calorie, processed foods can lead to serious conditions like obesity and metabolic syndrome. Thus, there would be an increased risk for type 2 diabetes and other chronic ailments.
As per the study, people who live in food deserts, or the areas with limited availability of healthy foods but many fast restaurants are also likely to be with low income and without having any access to transportation to supermarkets or other places to buy healthy foods.