You Are Where You Eat


photo credit Len Rizzi

Which came first, a high obesity rate or a concentration of fast food joints? TreeHugger has noted before that poorly designed cities or cheap gas can make you fat, but a new Canadian study has determined that there is a direct relationship between a city's obesity rate and the number of fast food restaurants per capita.
The Canadian Press quotes University of Alberta Health Economics Professor Sean Cash:

"We found there was actually a fairly strong relationship, a strong correlation between the two, that those cities that had higher obesity and overweight rates tended to have a higher density of at least the larger fast-food restaurant chains, so there were more restaurants per person in those cities," Cash said.

as one sees in the US where New Yorkers are the skinnniest Americans, the three biggest Canadian cities had the lowest obesity and the fewest fast food restaurants per capita.

"We found that some of the highest rates of obesity and overweight (people) in Canada, according to Statistics Canada, were in Atlantic provinces – cities like St. John's, with over 36 per cent of the population estimated to be obese," he said. "All we can say from our study is that looking across cities, there is a very strong relationship between where the fast-food restaurants are more densely located and those higher rates of obesity." ::Canadian Press

According to the National Post, for every extra fast-food restaurant per 10,000 people, a city's obesity rate goes up 3%, summarizing the results of the study. ::National Post

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