Obesity is more prevalent in neighborhoods with a high incidence of poverty. A study in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that encouraging families to relocate to higher income neighborhoods could lower the rate of obesity and signs of diabetes. This finding may lead to a better understanding of how we can combat the obesity epidemic.

Being surrounded by more neighbors who are not obese, and therefore one would assume consumed less calories and/or exercised more, decreases your chance of becoming obese. This reminds us of the very successful EPODE initiative where entire villages commit to adopting healthier life styles by addressing the importance of diet and exercise as a community. The result is a dramatic reduction in childhood obesity. Wouldn’t this make sense in the US?

Investing in community inspired educational programs concerning diet, nutrition and exercise, sounds easier and more rational than having families move to other neighborhoods.. One problem encountered is that nutritious lower calorie food may be more expensive and less tasty than unhealthy calorie laden items. Prevention strategies need to  address the availability of affordable healthy food items.  If successful the cost of such programs could be offset by reducing the escalating cost of health care associated with obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and back pain.

~ Norman Marcus, MD
Norman Marcus Pain Institute, New York NY
“Your New York City Pain Relief Doctor”

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