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Better neighborhoods may mean improved health for those at risk for diabetes

Category: Diabetes

Moving to a safer, more prosperous neighborhood may be one important way individuals can improve their HbA1c test scores and reduce their chances of developing type 2 diabetes, according to a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

A team of researchers from the University of Chicago showed that individuals who moved out of economically disadvantaged areas to more prosperous communities had significantly lower rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes than people who remained in low-income neighborhoods.

The researchers received an opportunity to study the phenomenon thanks to a program that ran from 1994 to 1998, which gave economically disadvantaged families either a voucher to move to areas with lower poverty rates or financial assistance but no opportunity to relocate.

Findings from the investigation show that a person's environment may have more to do with their risk of developing type 2 diabetes than their income. The researchers said this may explain why low-income individuals tend to have higher rates of type 2 diabetes.

Economically deprived areas generally have fewer grocery stores and provide less opportunity for physical activity, the researchers said. These things may contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes.

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