Our environment can be broadly described as which state we live in, what city or even where we work. You might not have thought much about how choosing your environment can affect your chances of developing obesity. However research demonstrate it plays a big role.
When thinking about where you want to live, take in consideration how many restaurant or fast food there is close by. Proximity to restaurant and fast food increases your chances to develop obesity. You see and smell them constantly, they are very convenient and affordable. So when you’re driving home from a frustrating day, tired, stressed and hungry they become irresistible. When choosing a home consider not only your commute time but what will you be passing by. On the other spectrum, if we live in an area where no affordable grocery stores are available at a reasonable distance obesity rates increase by 30%.
Where you are makes a difference
Our environment can increase obesity rates by having poor infrastructure. Think about neighborhoods walkability and availability of walking trails and parks. If you are within a 15 minute walk to the grocery store and only need a few things, you might walk. For many this is not an option, grocery shopping can easily mean a 45 minutes drive, which takes away opportunity for easy exercise and time. Being far away from parks and walking trail affect us in a similar way. If you’re up for a quick walk but there’s no sidewalk near your house it can be discouraging. If any form of exercise weather it’s walking, biking, running or going to a gym means a 20 minute drive or more, it affects us negatively. This happens because it takes extra time and effort. Many people don’t have a lot of time to themselves.
Walking is the simplest and greatest form of exercise
Environment can also mean something much closer to us such as our home or our work. Both influence our every day lives greatly. Someone living in an unsafe neighborhood might live with constant stress and/or fear. Our work environment can also be stressful or even create fear in us. There’s many supporting evidence demonstrating the link between negative emotions such as stress and it’s impact on obesity prevalence.
If you think your environment is impacting you negatively, make a change!