Type 1 Diabetes Associated with Poor Diet

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A retrospective cohort study has found that type 1 diabetes — not type 2 — is more prominent in areas with poor food options.

A retrospective cohort study has found that type 1 diabetes (T1D) — not type 2 — is more prominent in areas with poor food options.

Researchers from the New York University School of Medicine have found an association between T1D and “food swamps”: areas with food service categorized as fast food, or bodegas and small convenience stores, in lieu of larger grocery stores. The found association bucks previous notions that T1D is better linked to heredity and immunology, while T2D is linked to diet.

Researchers collected data on adults and children who visited a New York emergency department at least once between 2009-2013. In order to prioritize a non-institutionalized population, they included patients with home addresses that matched to New York City (NYC) census tracts, and excluded patients from correctional facilities or nursing homes.

They characterized the restaurant food environment from that time using inspection data from the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Fast food “swamps” were defined as areas with a greater proportion of nearby restaurants only offering take-out or counter service. For both food environment measures, researchers counted restaurants and stores within a one-mile radius of patient’s central location based on the census.

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