Study reveals you’re more likely to gain weight if you pass fast-food restaurants on your work commute


No more quick after-work burger runs for us...

Getty Images: Tim Boyle

PHOENIX- Do you ever pass a fast food place like In-N-Out Burger on your way to or from work and think, “Man, I could really use a Double-Double with extra sauce and two orders of animal-style fries”? Because same.

Believe it or not, the process of American’s morning/evening commute for work plays a role in their health.

A study that was done by Adriana Dornelles, Ph.D. Clinical Assistant Professor at ASU, examined the association between types of food stores available on individual’s commute and their body mass index, or BMI.

The study used data collected from ACTION Worksite Wellness for Elementary School Personnel, Dunn and Bradstreet commercial database, and the U.S. Census TIGER/Line Files.

Out of 710 participants, 71 percent were classified as obese or overweight and only 15 percent engaged in 30 minutes or more of daily physical activity.

The study found significant results between the subject’s BMIs in association with the availability of food stores around residential neighborhoods but more so in their commute.


The results suggested that the density of fast food restaurants within 1 kilometer of the subject’s routes was positively associated with BMI.

“Over the past decades, consumption of away-from-home food at fast-food places has increased substantially,” the study stated. “This situation along with fast-food portion sizes, results in the population’s overall higher consumption of fat, cholesterol, and carbohydrates and therefore increased weight and obesity.”

Another study done by Rydell, SA and other researchers, asked adolescents and adults why they regularly eat at fast food restaurants and found that three significant answers:

  • 92 percent said because fast food is quick
  • 80 percent said because the restaurants are easy to get to
  • 69 percent said food tastes good

Dornelles suggested interventions that work to reduce fast-food meal frequency and accessibility to fast-food restaurants should be considered in the future.

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