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Obesity Is Influenced By Fast Food Retailers

Kathleen Blanchard's picture

Researchers from Canada say too many fast food retailers in the neighborhood have a definite influence on obesity rates. For those who live in dense areas of fast food chains, obesity is more rampant. Scientists evaluated obesity rates and ratio of fast food restaurants to grocers and specialty stores, finding. “That it correlates very well with the odds that that person may be obese".

John Spence from the University of Alberta, Canada worked with a group of scientists to find that the 'Retail Food Environment Index' (RFEI), the number of fast-food restaurants and convenience stores to supermarkets and specialty food stores in a given radius around a person's home, has a definite influence on obesity.

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The study shows that areas dense with fast food retailers does influence obesity rates. The mere proximity of fast food retailers to one’s home raises the risk of obesity and obesity related diseases. Spence says, "These findings may help explain the observation that geographic concentration of fast-food restaurants is associated with mortality and hospital admissions for acute coronary events in Canada".

The researchers suggest that the government intervene to impose zoning laws that would limit fast food dense areas in neighborhoods. Reducing availability of unhealthy foods could reduce the increasing rates of obesity they contend.

Fast food is less expensive, and more energy dense than fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately, having better access to fast food retailers than grocers close to home may be a major factor influencing obesity rates.