Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Neighborhood supermarket and park proximity directly related to obesity

Nearly 18 percent of U.S. school-aged children and adolescents are obese, as the rate of childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years. The prevalence of obesity puts children at greater risk of developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke and other illnesses, and of suffering severe obesity as adults. New study results indicate that where a child lives, including factors such as the neighborhood’s walkability, proximity to higher quality parks, and access to healthy food, has an important effect on obesity rates. Researchers found that children living in neighborhoods with favorable neighborhood environment attributes had 59 percent lower odds of being obese.

“Obesogenic Neighborhood Environments, Child and Parent Obesity: The Neighborhood Impact on Kids Study” was published in a special theme issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. This is among the first neighborhood environment studies to look at a combination of nutrition and physical activity environments and to assess children and their parents. It is also among the largest studies of its kind to use objective geographic information system (GIS) data to examine the physical activity and healthy food option attributes of a neighborhood related to obesity.

Numerous national health organizations have identified neighborhood environment and built environment, including healthy food and physical activity opportunities, as important factors in childhood obesity, including the Institute of Medicine and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Researcd data support recommendations from these groups that we need to change our environments to make them more supportive of physical activity and nutrition.

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Neighborhood supermarket and park proximity directly related to obesity

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