DETROIT (WWJ) — Access to fast food has little impact on your body mass index, according to a new study from Indiana University.

A new study, led by Shannon Zenk of the University of Illinois Chicago, suggests that living by fast-food restaurants and super markets does not have much of an impact on a person’s BMI. The study indicated that the availability to fast-food restaurants does not result in someone being overweight.

“Fast food is generally not good for you, and supermarkets do sell healthy food,” said researcher Coady Wing from IU’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs. “But our results suggest blocking the opening of a new fast-food restaurant or subsidizing a local supermarket will do little to reduce obesity.”

The study used results from the Weight and Veterans’ Environments Study, a comprehensive database that stretched from 2009 to 2014 and covered 1.7 million veterans living in 382 metropolitan areas. The research team took a look at each veteran’s BMI and how it related to locations of fast-food restaurants and super centers such as Target and Walmart stores.

The study also revealed that there is no evidence that relationships between BMI and food outlets are different in neighborhoods with higher poverty levels.

Through this research the team was able to determine that public policies against fast-food restaurants and favor healthier supermarkets are unlikely to reduce obesity, although such policies may make it easier for people to access healthy foods.

“We couldn’t find evidence to support policies based on that presumed link,” Wing said. “Strategies like the healthy food financing initiatives some cities are pursuing could have benefits, for example reducing the saturation of unhealthy food sources in impoverished neighborhoods. But those policies alone aren’t likely to lead to healthier BMI.”


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