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

Community trekking is the latest development to emerge from the…

Cities

Scientists are using sophisticated data modelling to predict how cities…

Places

The most populated country of Central Asia, Uzbekistan has been…

Forests

To protect the forests that act as natural carbon reservoirs,…

Forests

Recent research finds that climate change-induced drought is having a…

Cities

The city of Calais struggles with its reputation. More often…

Mapping

Benjamin Hennig and Tina Gotthardt map the coronavirus

Water

The controversial practice of cloud-seeding has always been difficult to…

Forests

The impact of wildfires on water supplies has received little…

Mapping

Benjamin Hennig maps the two sides of global malnutrition –…

Cities

Thomas Bird reports on the coronavirus, speaking to those trapped…

Forests

The world’s second largest tropical forest receives significantly less funding…

Cities

The world’s first water-borne dairy farm has been erected on…

Cities

Continental Europe’s most extensive underground rail transport network, the Madrid…

Cities

A central highway in Brazil’s largest city is about to…

Cities

Urban photography marries themes and passages from TS Eliot in…

Mapping

From Leonardo da Vinci’s genius and the history of Starbucks,…

Mapping

How do you usually travel to work? Question 41 in…

Water

The Nile is home to mysteries both ancient and modern…

Places

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