Obesity and overweight problems in adulthood may well depend upon the type of neighbourhood in which one spent their growing up years, a new study has revealed.
A research team from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) suggests that being overweight or obese may depend upon the characteristics of your neighbourhood.
They found that men residing in neighbourhoods with a high immigrant concentration and women living in areas with little residential turnover may be more likely to be obese.
"Obesity is the result of an energy imbalance, and our premise was that neighbourhood environment can affect caloric intake and expenditure," said Irina B. Grafova, Ph.D., health economist and assistant professor in the Department of Health Systems and Policy at the UMDNJ-School of Public Health.
For the study, the researchers examined the relationship between the economic, built, and social aspects of neighbourhoods and weight status among men and women ages 55 years and older.
The researchers found that economic advantage appeared to play a preventive role for obesity in both older men and women, but an economic disadvantage didn't seem to matter for older adults.
Men living in neighbourhoods with high immigrant concentration are more likely to be obese, while women with little neighbourhood turnover were more likely to be obese.
"This research shows there are relationships between neighbourhood environment and older adults' weight status, but it doesn't identify the mechanisms or pathways," said Grafova.
"Further investigation is important because knowledge of these pathways is the basis for successful interventions and for more successful aging," he said.
The study appears in the American Journal of Public Health.