Where Cancer Survivors Live Impacts Obesity Risk

Pediatric cancer survivors are at increased risk for obesity, and a study published in the International Journal of Cancer found that living in resource-poor neighborhoods further increases the risk of body fat and obesity.

Researchers assessed the association between neighborhood and obesity among cancer survivors from the St. Jude Lifetime cohort and compared outcomes. The study included 2,265 patients (mean age, 32.5 years; 46% were female; 85% were white) and 318 controls with available residential addresses.

Cancer survivors completed questionnaires about individual behaviors. Percent body fat was assessed via dual x‐ray absorptiometry, and neighborhood effect was characterized by census tract of residence.

Obesity and neighborhood of residence

Obese survivors (n=1,420; 62.7%) were more likely to live in neighborhoods with lower socioeconomic status (relative risk [RR] = 1.23; 95% CI, 1.10‐1.38) and rural areas (RR=1.22; 95% CI, 1.07‐1.39) compared with survivors with normal percent body fat.

Resource-poor neighborhoods (P<0.001) and cranial radiation (P<0.001) directly affected percent body fat. The relationship between neighborhood and percent body fat was further increased in patients with a poor diet (P=0.04).

“Interventions targeting survivors should incorporate strategies that address environmental influences on obesity,” the researchers concluded.