Study: No link between obesity and fast food outlets near California kids’ homes

A "Giant" hamburger is displayed at a McDonalds.
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Are children more likely to get fat if they live near fast food restaurants? A new study says not necessarily.

The RAND Corporation interviewed 13,000 California children, comparing each child’s diet and weight to the kinds of food available in the neighborhood. The study found no link between what the youngsters ate and how close they lived to fast food restaurants or supermarkets.

That finding, published in the Journal of Preventive Medicine, contradicts the old belief that the local food environment plays a key role in the diet and healthy weight of children.

Researchers say transportation makes a difference; if it’s easy enough to get to a supply of healthy food, the fast food restaurants in the neighborhood don’t matter as much.

The National Institute on Child Health and Human Development was among the organizations that helped support the study.