Exposure to take-out food doubles your risk of being obese

The theory of proximity when it comes to weight gain suggests that being closer to food makes you more likely to eat it.

And a new study published in the British Medical Journal suggests that exposure to certain foods, namely proximity to take-out restaurants, could double your odds of becoming obese.

Fast food chains growing, people eating in less

In the U.K., the number of take-out or fast food restaurants has increased significantly over the last 10 years, the study reports, while eating away from home has also risen by 29 percent.

For the study, researchers from the University of Cambridge examined how exposure to take-out food in the home, non-home environments, and even on the commute to work could influence the likelihood of becoming obese.

Even after accounting for a wide range of obesity risk factors, like age, sex, physical activity level, smoking status, and car ownership, the researchers found that individuals exposed to the most take-out or fast food restaurants in their environments had an estimated BMI that was 1.21 points greater than those who were least exposed. Subjects with the most exposure to take-out food, furthermore, were twice as likely to be obese as those with little exposure.

Environmental 'contribution' is clear

While the study can't draw a definitive link between environment and weight gain, the authors note that there is a clear "environmental contribution" that influences people to eat more take-out food the more they are exposed to it.

The evidence supports what research from Cornell food and nutritional science expert Brian Wansink, Ph.D., has found in his multiple studies on food and human behavior – that being near to food significantly increases the odds that we will eat it.

To combat the problem, the authors suggest that policies aimed at reducing exposure to take-out food especially around and near the workplace would be most effective.

Source: British Medical Journal

Photo credit: Grant Cochrane/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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