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Living Near Fast Food Outlets Linked to Higher Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

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The environment around us can create a huge impact on our health and wellness, especially the convenience you get in fast food outlets.

A new study found that people living near fast-food restaurants may increase the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes. Globally, the prevalence of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus is increasing.

The researchers discovered that exposure to high-density fast food outlets near a person’s house was linked with an 8% increase in their probability of being diagnosed with diabetes. Additionally, women and high-income earners were more likely to have higher diabetes mellitus levels.

However, the study was limited by several factors such as the self-reported data on diabetes diagnoses, actual diets of participants, and other variables associated with diabetes. Future studies are needed to validate and expand on how food environments may impact individuals’ diets and health.

“Our results show interventions targeting the environment may be effective in preventing diabetes, however, the heterogeneity of the effects found in our analysis suggests that more specific interventions may be needed. 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,” the authors said.

Marisa Miraldo, one of the authors cited that big companies in food and beverage, and retailers should intensify their sustainability effort to prevent lifestyle diseases such as diabetes.

“In South Asia, diabetes affects 1 in 11 adults and causes 747,000 preventable deaths per year. Our research shows living in proximity to at least one fast food outlet is associated with a 16% increase in the chance of being diagnosed with diabetes. With the number of people with diabetes in Southeast Asia projected to reach 113 million by 2030, it is imperative that food and beverage companies and retailers step up their sustainability agendas to promote better diets and prevent diabetes.”

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