Obesity and diabetes are not only caused by dietary factors alone. Environmental factors also affect the emergence of this disease. U.S. women in poor areas more likely to become obese and develop diabetes than women who later moved to a better environment.
Researchers provide vouchers and counseling to women who live in poor areas so they can move to a lower poverty rate.
After 10 years of living in a new place, these women are likely to become obese is reduced 19 percent and 22 percent lower type 2 diabetes compared to those living in poor neighborhoods.
“The initial goal of this study is to help families become more secure, but it turns out there is its influence on health outcomes. The effect in our study appear to be roughly proportional to both lifestyle and medical interventions,” said study author Jens Ludwig, Professor of Social Service Administration , Law and Public Policy at the University of Chicago.
From 1994 to 1998, the researchers recruited 4498 women with children living in impoverished settlements. This research study called ‘Moving to Opportunity’.
The goal is to see whether the move of women and children from poor areas into other areas that can better improve the welfare of his life. The study volunteers from five U.S. cities, namely: Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and New York.
The women were grouped by random draw. One group received housing vouchers that can only be cashed if moved to an area with a number of people living in poverty is less than 10 percent. Another group received housing vouchers without any conditions. And the last group was the control group who did not receive any intervention.
In 2008 through 2010, the researchers collected follow-up information, including measurement of height, weight, and blood tests to find out diabetes. During follow-up period, 17 percent of women in the control group had become fat with unhealthy, with an indication of body mass index of 40 and above.
In women who moved into the area better, obesity of 14.4 percent and 19 percent lower than the control group. While the women who received housing vouchers alone has 15.4 percent obesity rate.
As for the level of diabetes, as much as 16.3 percent found in women who moved to lower poverty, 20.6 percent are in the group that medapat housing vouchers, and by 20 percent in the control group.
As reported by HealthDay, Thursday (20/10/2011), Ludwig said that this study was not originally designed to identify certain factors that may contribute to decreased levels of obesity and diabetes.
However, the researchers explain that there are four main factors that may be the cause. One is access to better food. In areas of high poverty, there is no grocery store and there are only a small shop on the corner.
Another factor is because it can perform physical exercise in a safer environment. Better access to health care may also play a role. Furthermore, the reduction of psychological stress due to move to a safer environment can also help.
“This is a good study in looking at a very complicated problem. This study suggests that the environment can be a very important component for controlling obesity and diabetes,” said Dr. Joel Zonszein, director of clinical diabetes center at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City.