People living in socio-economically deprived localities at risk of being obese

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Researchers have brought to the forefront a completely new factor that needs to weighed in while deciding to buy or rent a house in a particular locality – social-economic status of the neighbourhood – as they have evidence that suggests that those living in socio-economically deprived localities are at risk of being obese.

According to lead investigator Tiffany Powell-Wiley from National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, US National Institutes of Health, the latest study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, sheds important light on the impact that changes in neighbourhood socioeconomic deprivation by moving can have on weight change and subsequent obesity.

The findings have been derived from analysis of data from the Dallas Heart Survey (DHS), a probability-based sample of over 3,000 Dallas County residents aged 18-65 years.

The study began between 2000 and 2002 and a seven-year follow-up was conducted between 2007 and 2009, at which time 1,835 participants completed a detailed survey, anthropometric measures, and laboratory testing.

Each participant was linked to Dallas County census block groups, and a neighbourhood Deprivation Index (NDI) was calculated for each block group.

Among people who relocated, 263 participants moved to a higher-NDI neighbourhood, 586 to a lower-NDI neighbourhood, 47 participants moved but had no NDI change, and 939 participants remained in the same neighbourhood.

Those who moved to higher-NDI areas gained more weight compared to those who remained at the same NDI or moved to lower NDI. (0.64 kg per 1-unit NDI increase).

Those who moved to higher-NDI neighbourhoods, the impact of NDI change on weight gain increased for those who lived in a new neighbourhood for more than four years, with a mean additional weight gain per one-unit NDI increase of 0.85 kg.