Does your neighborhood make you fat? A new study shows on average, people who live in the city weigh less than those who live in the suburbs.
Health Psychologist James Sallis says the problem is that suburbanites tend to weigh more than urbanites. "Most people that live in the suburbs, it's really not possible for you to walk to the store on a daily basis. So that cuts out an entire category of physical activity," explains Sallis.
One new study from the University of Tronto blames the growth of burb-bellies on fatter urbanites moving out of the city onto easy street suburbia.
Sallis asks, "Are people really choosing to live in places that are helping them be obese?"
Most researchers say no.
"Their conclusion was that there was no impact of moving to a different neighborhood on weight change," explains Sallis.
More important than where you live, researchers say is the amount of time you spend driving. The more you are behind the wheel, the more likely you are to gain weight.
"It's suggesting that if you're driving really long distances from home to work, that in itself could be a risk factor," says Sallis.
Whether it is the commute, your zip code or some other cause, suburban sprawl now refers more to your waistline than your street sign.
"I think we have enough information to caution people who are living in the suburbs, might pose some health risk," explains Sallis.
While people who live in the city do tend to weigh less that does not necessarily mean living in the suburbs makes you gain weight.
Doctors say more studies need to be done.