Does living close to fast food restaurants make you fat?
A new study from Lund University in Sweden has shown no correlation between obesity and how close you live to fast food restaurants or gyms.
Studies from other countries have previously indicated that these factors may be important in adult obesity.
The areas where we live are known to be important for our health.
For example, obesity is more prevalent in deprived neighbourhoods. Deprived neighbourhoods are typically defined by low socio-economic levels, e.g., low average income and high unemployment rates.
The reason why obesity is more prevalent in such neighbourhoods have been a topic of interest among both researchers and policy makers for a long time, and commercial facilities, like fast food outlets and physical activity facilities, have attracted much research attention and debate.
"However, our large-scale study in Sweden, using longitudinal national registry data of more than 1.5 million adults, did not find a statistically significant association between these two types of facilities and obesity," explained Kenta Okuyama, a PhD student at Lund University.
The researchers say it is unlikely that the availability of fast food outlets or lack of gyms are causes of obesity.
The study did show a correlation between neighbourhood deprivation and obesity.
How many fast food restaurants do you live near?