Moving neighbourhoods can cut obesity and diabetes risks

POOR suburbs really do make people sick, according to a 15-year study involving almost 4500 public housing tenants.

Moving away from a neighbourhood where 40% of household incomes were below the poverty line to one where this figure was less than 10% was seen to reduce rates of obesity and diabetes, the US research showed.

The study took in women with children who lived in disadvantaged areas of suburbs in Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and New York from 1994 to 1998.

Families were randomised into three groups: a control group, which received no relocation assistance, and other groups, which received either an unrestricted or restricted moving voucher.

The restricted vouchers were only redeemable if the household agreed to relocate to a recognised “lower poverty rate” area.

At follow-up in 2008–10, families that had moved to public housing in a less disadvantaged area showed