Proximity to fast food outlets can increase risk of type 2 diabetes

Research has long suggested that proximity to food makes an individual more likely to eat it.

A new study supports this theory, while suggesting that our "fast food nation" is partially to blame for the rise of type 2 diabetes cases across the country - especially among inner-city communities.

As researchers reported in Public Health Nutrition, for every additional two fast food outlets per neighborhood, one additional diabetes case is likely.

"We found that the number of fast-food outlets in a person's neighborhood was associated with an increased risk of screen-detected type 2 diabetes and obesity," said study leader Professor Kamlesh Khunti, from the University of Leicester's Diabetes Research Center.

'Alarming results'

In neighborhoods where non-white ethnicities dominated, there were about double the amount of fast food outlets compared with White European neighborhoods.

"We found a much higher number of fast food outlets in more deprived areas where a higher number of black and minority ethnic populations resided," Khunti said. "The results are quite alarming and have major implications for public health interventions to limit the number of fast food outlets in more deprived areas."

According to Dr. Patrice Carter, co-author of the study, the connection between fast food outlets and type 2 diabetes doesn't come as a surprise.

"Fast-food is high in total fat, trans-fatty acids and sodium, portion sizes have increased two to fivefold over the last 50 years and a single fast-food meal provides approximately 5860 kJ (1400 kcal)," Carter said. "Furthermore, fast-food outlets often provide sugar-rich drinks."

A study published earlier this year in the British Medical Journal found that proximity to take-out restaurants could double a person's odds of becoming obese.

Source: University of Leicester

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