Where a child lives—the greenery of the landscape and the distance to supermarkets—is related to the risk for excess pounds, according to a recent study.
In a study of more than 7,000 children, NIH-funded researchers found that children living in urban areas were less likely to be overweight if their neighborhood had more greenery. Children in suburban regions had less risk for excess weight if they lived closer to major supermarkets.
The findings suggest that access to green spaces may encourage physical activity and that access to major food stores may enable healthier diets.
Although previous studies have found that adults living closer to fast-food chains and convenience stores are at greater risk for being overweight, the current study found no evidence that the same holds true for children.
“As a pediatrician, I hope this study will encourage neighborhood organizations, community activists and others to bring more opportunities for physical activities and healthy food choices to the places where children live,” said the study’s lead investigator, Dr. Gilbert C. Liu of Indiana University School of Medicine.