Looking to lose weight and eat healthier? Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, have advice about where you should live.
According to these scientists, healthy eating and a lower weight depends on location, location, location. They warn that to lose weight and improve your well-being, you should live near a health food store or a well-stocked supermarket.
Their study of 240 obese people who were trying to lose weight shows that having easy access to healthy food is crucial if you need to improve your health and diet – just as important as seeking out professional support, a knowledgeable healthcare provider and being highly motivated to improve your wellness.
The people in the research were obese and suffering metabolic syndrome (physical problems like high blood pressure and blood sugar irregularities that increased their risk of developing diabetes).
“They were referred by their physicians to make lifestyle changes, including dietary changes. They are highly motivated,” says researcher Wenjun Li. “Even if they live far away from [our clinic], they travel long distances to learn how to change their lifestyles.”
Nevertheless, despite being highly motivated, if the study participants lived far from a store with healthy foods, they didn’t eat a diet as healthy as people who lived near outlets stocked with fresh fruits and vegetables.
The researchers’ analysis of the dietary changes made by the people in the study shows that when you’re deprived of easy access to healthy foods, despite your ample motivation to improve your meals, you will find it hard to make changes.
If you live near fast food outlets, chances are, you will eat more fast food.
“Changing the (food) environment alone cannot produce results. However, efforts to try to change a person will be very limited without improving the environment,” Li warns. “This is why both aspects should be pursued at the same time with coordinated efforts.”