Children who live closer to fast- food outlets are more likely to gain weight as compared to their peers living farther away, a UK study suggests. Researchers at University of the West of England in the UK tracked the weight of 1,500 children between their first and last years at primary school. They noted that children living closer to fast-food restaurants were more likely to gain a significant amount of weight during that time. "We know from national data that the number of children classified as obese doubles between the first and last year of primary school," lead researcher Matthew Pearce was quoted as saying by 'The Times'. "Understanding the reasons for this is important to protect the future health of children," Pearce said. "Obesity is driven by many complex factors.
Our study adds to existing evidence that the neighbourhood environment plays an important role in the development of obesity," he added. The study, published in the Journal of Public Health, is the first to show an association between accessibility to fast-food outlets and weight gain over time. It showed a higher density of fast food outlets within poorer neighbourhoods but it did not prove a causal link.
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