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Researchers found that 12 percent of the more than 5,000 people in the study developed diabetes within the average 8.9 years of follow-up, but patients who lived in areas that had access to more physical activity resources and healthy foods had a lower risk of developing diabetes. The social environment of a neighborhood was not associated with the incidence of type 2 diabetes, found the researchers, who were led by Paul Christine. Read: Tips to live well with Type 2 Diabetes
Researchers Nancy Adler and Aric Prather wrote in an accompanying editorial that they do not yet know what elements of neighborhoods are most essential for generating better health, these researchers provide important clues about which elements have an effect and for whom. They noted that the risk for type 2 diabetes mellitus is a combination of both person and place, and the national strategies need to understand and intervene across these levels.
Christine and colleagues also found that environmental resources mattered differently to those with higher and lower incomes. Poorer patients in areas being viewed as having less social activity and as being more dangerous to go outside in were more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, but overall, neighborhood safety and social cohesion were 'largely unassociated' with diabetes.
The results suggest that modifying specific features of neighborhood environments, including increasing the availability of healthy foods and physical activity resources, may help to mitigate the risk for T2DM, added researchers.
The study appears in JAMA Internal Medicine.
Image souurce: Getty Images
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