In a new study published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine a team of researchers have looked into how where we live can affect your weight.
They discovered that those who moved to a poorer neighbourhood were more likely to gain weight, when compared to those who moved to a better or similar neighbourhood.
What did the study involve?
The researchers looked at over 1,800 records found in the Dallas Heart Study (DHS) that looked at data to try and identify the biological risk factors that cause cardiovascular disease.
This data allowed the researchers to see how the health of the population changed over 2 different time periods; firstly from the year 2000 to 2002, then 2007 and 2009.
In these time frames the researchers discovered that around half of all interviewees had moved, with one-third moving to a poorer neighbourhood.
They were able to tell if a neighbourhood was a poorer one by using the NDI (Neighbourhood Deprivation Index) score, which looks at the percentage of unemployed in the area, the number of households that need public help and the number of households with a car.
After looking at a number of variables including age, their income and physical activity levels the authors of the study saw that those interviewees who lived in an area with a high NDI were more susceptible to weight gain.
For every point increase in NDI there was an extra pound and a half weight gain.
What could be causing these results?
While the study did not look at what factors could be causing this weight gain there maybe a number of reasons why this is the case, for example:
1. Those living in a poorer area have been shown to have increased levels of stress. Stress can cause increases in serotonin levels that can cause food cravings.
2. As budgets might be tighter, they may buy less fresh fruit, vegetables and other produce; instead relying on more affordable junk food. This may also affect activity levels too, as gym memberships can be expensive.
Whatever the reason there is a clear proof that where you live may affect your weight.