In a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine this week, it is stated that people who live in lower-poverty neighborhoods tend to have lower levels of obesity and diabetes compared to those who reside in rough, poverty-stricken areas. According to CNN, this realization all started after the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development offered residents of poor neighborhoods the chance to move on up (not necessarily to the East Side). While they were initially supposed to just be studying how where you reside affects employment, income and education, with the rise in the number of obese Americans, they decided to take their study a step further.
They studied 4,498 single mothers who volunteered for the program to get their families out of high-poverty areas. They found that individuals who moved to lower-poverty areas were 19 percent less likely to have morbid obesity, and 22 percent less likely to have the glucose levels usually connected with diabetes. According to study author Jens Ludwig, “Neighborhood disadvantages contribute to obesity and diabetes. Improving the economic situations [of families] improves their health.”
If you were wondering what is it about poverty-stricken areas that increases your risk for obesity aside from the usual, “No money to afford good food” answer, here are a few ideas, according to previous studies. Many struggling neighborhoods, for one, lack places where you can get healthy sources of food. Corner stores and local food joints usually don’t supply people with the healthy items they need in their diet. Who wants to go far out to the grocery when the corner store has some delicious delights too? And on top of that, the lack of medical benefits, education aspects and stress, a lot of neighborhoods don’t have safe places to exercise or where children can play at and work up a sweat. Interesting.
Can’t say I’m surprised about this revelation. It’s pretty true that you can’t really drive down the street in a bad neighborhood and find an LA Fitness or Equinox to get your mind and body right. But we definitely thought it was worth sharing. So the moral of the story is, the area you live in could possibly be making you obese–but let’s not use our residences as scapegoats either. You know when it’s time to put down that cheeseburger…
What do you think of the study’s findings?