Fast-food density and neighborhood walkability affect residents' weight and waist size

Mar 03, 2009

In a research article published recently by the American Journal of Epidemiology, Oregon Research Institute (ORI) scientist Fuzhong Li, Ph.D., and colleagues show that a high-density of fast food outlets was associated with an increase of 3 pounds in weight and .8 inches in waist circumference among neighborhood residents who frequently ate at those restaurants. In contrast, high-walkability neighborhoods were associated with a decrease of 2.7 pounds in weight and 0.6 inches in waist size among residents who increased their levels of vigorous physical activity during a one-year period.

"This is one of the few longitudinal studies that focus on change in individuals' body weight over time in relation to their lifestyle behaviors and immediate living environments," noted Dr. Li. "The uniqueness of this study lies in its environment-person approach which we use to show that health-impeding environments, such as a high density of fast-food outlets, together with residents' behavior, such as eating fast food regularly, can have an unhealthy impact on body weight. On the other hand, health-promoting environments, such as walkable neighborhood streets, in conjunction with physically active residents, can have a positive impact on body weight over time." said Dr. Li.

The study is part of the Portland Oregon Neighborhood Environment and Health Study where researchers are following a sample of over 1200 local residents ages 50-75 years old over a three-year period using anthropometric and survey measures, such as body weight, height, eating habits, food intake, physical activity, and perceptions of their immediate neighborhood environment. Researchers have also taken objective measures of built environment characteristics, such as land-use mix, density of fast-food outlets, street connectivity, & public transit stations, and the presence of green & open spaces in 120 randomly selected neighborhoods in Portland, Oregon. The overall objective of the research project is to examine change in body weight and physical activity in relation to built environment.

"To combat the obesity/overweight problem, it appears clear that, from the perspectives of public health and urban design, efforts are needed to improve features of modifiable built environments by making them more conducive to healthy eating and increasing physical activity," noted Li.

Source: Oregon Research Institute

Explore further: Newport's Cliff Walk by Gilded Age mansions now smoke-free

Related Stories

Carrying a table together with a robot

Jun 19, 2015

From a robot's perspective, humans are normally a nuisance: when robots and humans have to work together, it often leads to problems. Researchers on CogIMon, a new project starting at Bielefeld University, ...

Weighing and imaging molecules one at a time

Apr 27, 2015

Building on their creation of the first-ever mechanical device that can measure the mass of individual molecules, one at a time, a team of Caltech scientists and their colleagues have created nanodevices ...

Health checks will be seated by Sharp

Dec 08, 2014

(Phys.org) —Sharp unveiled a news-making prototype of a sensor earlier this month at Semicon Japan 2014, which took place from Dec 3 to 5. As its title suggests, Sharp's "Blood Vessel Aging Degree Sensor" ...

MIT ATLAS robot demo shows advanced moves (w/ Video)

Sep 07, 2014

The bipedal robot ATLAS from MIT is moving on. Reacting to the recent video of "MIT Atlas truckin' with a truss," TechCrunch said, "We've seen the cute little guy walk, toddle, and climb over obstacles but ...

Recommended for you

Noise from fireworks threatens young ears

Jul 03, 2015

(HealthDay)—The Fourth of July weekend is a time for celebrations and beautiful fireworks displays. But, parents do need to take steps to protect their children's ears from loud fireworks, a hearing expert ...

Many new teen drivers 'crash' in simulated driving task

Jul 03, 2015

(HealthDay)—Around four in 10 newly licensed teen drivers "crashed" in a simulated driving test, suggesting that many adolescents lack the skills they need to stay safe on the road, according to a new study.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.