Scientists from Imperial College found that living near fast-food restaurants increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
The research is published in PLOS Medicine and was conducted by Marisa Miraldo et al.
Food environments have an impact on diet and obesity-two risk factors for type 2 diabetes.
In the study, the team linked cross-sectional health data with environment mapping surveys for 12,167 people from 2018 to 2020.
They collected self-reported diabetes diagnosis histories and fasting blood glucose levels from residents of urban and rural districts.
The researchers then mapped the food environment, collecting data on the location and types of food retailers available within 300 meters of each participant’s home, categorizing each type of food outlet as healthy or unhealthy.
The team found that a higher density of fast food outlets near an individual’s home was linked to an 8% increase in their probability of a diabetes diagnosis.
Having at least one fast-food retailer in the proximity of one’s home was associated with 2.14 mg/dL blood sugar increase.
Additionally, women and high-income earners were more likely to have higher diabetes levels.
The results show interventions targeting the environment may be effective in preventing diabetes.
But one-size-fits-all built environment interventions have not led to improved outcomes and future research is needed to evaluate which food environment interventions could improve diabetes outcomes in this geographical region and population.
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