HealthDay News — Neighborhood food environment measures are associated with type 2 diabetes, according to a study published online Oct. 29 in JAMA Network Open.

Rania Kanchi, M.P.H., from NYU Langone Health in New York City, and colleagues conducted a national cohort study of 4,100,650 U.S. veterans without type 2 diabetes. Participants entered the cohort between 2008 and 2016 and were followed through 2018 (median, 5.5 person-years). Neighborhood food environment measures were generated based on five-year mean counts of fast-food restaurants and supermarkets relative to other food outlets. The correlation between food environment and time to incident diabetes was examined.

The researchers found that in all community types, the relative density of fast-food restaurants was positively associated with a modestly increased risk for type 2 diabetes. The adjusted hazard ratios were 1.01, 1.01, 1.02, and 1.01 in high-density urban communities, low-density urban communities, suburban communities, and rural communities, respectively. In suburban and rural communities, the relative density of supermarkets was associated with lower type 2 diabetes risk (adjusted hazard ratios, 0.97 and 0.99, respectively).

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“Tailored interventions targeting availability of supermarkets may be more appropriate in suburban and rural communities than urban communities, whereas restrictions on fast-food restaurants could possibly help in all community types,” the authors write. “These actions, combined with increasing awareness of the risk of type 2 diabetes and the importance of healthy diet intake, might be associated with a decrease in the burden of type 2 diabetes among adults in the United States.”

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