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: Low Vitamin D may not be a culprit in menopause symptoms

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Small, light health patch with enhanced accuracy

Apr 09, 2014

Holst Centre and IMEC have unveiled a prototype flexible health patch weighing just 10g – half the weight of current products. The patch uses real-time electrocardiogram (ECG), tissue-contact impedance ...

Recommended for you

Low Vitamin D may not be a culprit in menopause symptoms

4 hours ago

A new study from the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) shows no significant connection between vitamin D levels and menopause symptoms. The study was published online today in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopa ...

Internists favor public policy to reduce gun violence

10 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Most internists believe that firearm-related violence is a public health issue and favor policy initiatives aimed at reducing it, according to research published online April 10 in the Annals of ...

iPLEDGE isotretinoin counseling may need updating

11 hours ago

(HealthDay)—The iPLEDGE program needs to provide women with information about more contraceptive choices, including reversible contraceptives, according to research published in the April issue of JAMA De ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Low Vitamin D may not be a culprit in menopause symptoms

A new study from the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) shows no significant connection between vitamin D levels and menopause symptoms. The study was published online today in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopa ...

Patent talk: Google sharpens contact lens vision

(Phys.org) —A report from Patent Bolt brings us one step closer to what Google may have in mind in developing smart contact lenses. According to the discussion Google is interested in the concept of contact ...

Tech giants look to skies to spread Internet

The shortest path to the Internet for some remote corners of the world may be through the skies. That is the message from US tech giants seeking to spread the online gospel to hard-to-reach regions.

Wireless industry makes anti-theft commitment

A trade group for wireless providers said Tuesday that the biggest mobile device manufacturers and carriers will soon put anti-theft tools on the gadgets to try to deter rampant smartphone theft.