Our directory of things of interest

University Directory

Fast food locations linked to diabetes risk

Fast food locations linked to diabetes risk Shutterstock
12 Nov
2014
A new report shows the geography behind fast food, diabetes and ethnicity in the UK

Researchers at the University of Leicester have taken a close look at links between inner-city fast food, ethnicity, obesity and diabetes.

The study, based on more than 10,000 people, found that there was a higher number of fast food outlets within 500-metres of areas described as ‘non-white’ in socially-deprived areas.

‘Our study suggests that for every additional two outlets per neighbourhood, we would expect one additional diabetes case, assuming a causal relationship between the fast food outlet and diabetes,’ said the authors in an article for Public Health Nutrition.

‘In a multi-ethnic region of the UK, individuals had on average two fast food outlets within 500m of their home,’ said Professor Kamlesh Khunti, Professor of Primary Care Diabetes & Vascular Medicine at the University of Leicester. ‘This number differed substantially by key demographics, including ethnicity; people of non-white ethnicity had more than twice the number of fast food outlets in their neighbourhood compared with White Europeans. We found that the number of fast food outlets in a person’s neighbourhood was associated with an increased risk of screen-detected Type-2 diabetes and obesity.’

The pattern also held in areas that were socially deprived.

Type-2 diabetes occurs when a person produces too little insulin, a hormone that regulates the body’s metabolism. Unlike Type-1 diabetes, which is caused by a non-functional pancreas, Type-2 comes about through failure to produce sufficient insulin. Type-2 is also related to factors such as lack of exercise, unhealthy diets and obesity. Type-2 accounts for 90 per cent of all diabetes cases in the UK, according to the NHS.

‘This work has several notable strengths; namely, it is the first study, to our knowledge, to look at the association between the number of neighbourhood fast food outlets and Type-2 diabetes in a multi-ethnic population. Although it is not possible to infer causal effect, our study found that plausible causal mechanisms exist,’ added Dr Patrice Carter, a co-author of the study.

Related items

NEVER MISS A STORY - Follow Geographical on Social

Want to stay up to date with breaking Geographical stories? Join the thousands following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and stay informed about the world.

More articles in PLACES...

Places

While researching his main article on the world’s smallest countries,…

Places

Vitali Vitaliev briefly meets the down-to-earth ruler of Liectenstein

Places

In the third of his series on geopolitical oddities, Vitali…

Water

Increased rainfall intensity, predicted to occur as the climate changes,…

Deserts

Now in its fourth year, this annual lecture series highlights…

Cities

With Jakarta suffering from severe subsidence, pollution and congestion, Indonesia…

Mapping

A revolution in digital mapmaking is underway and the implications…

Cities

India has pledged $120billion to make its cities ‘smart’. But…

Cities

Buildings made from wood are becoming increasingly common in cities…

Forests

The lead author of a scientific study, which claimed that…

Cities

A team of researchers in Australia are urging urban planners…

Water

An artificial intelligence tool can predict where conflicts related to…

Water

Hundreds of historic landfill sites are at risk from erosion…

Cities

London has officially become the first of a new kind…

Mountains

A new model of the monsoon system, which dispenses with the Himalaya Mountains,…

Places

In the second of his features on the world’s geopolitical…

Water

The discovery a long ‘tongue’ of ice beneath a glacial…

Mapping

Benjamin Hennig explains two cartograms which demonstrate the global water…

Places

Get on your bike with this collection of stories to…