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Diabetes and Obesity: Engaging Health-Promoting Behaviors
December 27, 2016
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Diabetes and Obesity: Engaging Health-Promoting Behaviors

Diabetes and obesity are major public health priorities that are highly associated with environmental factors and correlated with the availability of open space in neighborhoods and communities.
People are considered overweight if their body mass index (BMI) is between 25 and 29.9; they are considered obese if their BMI is 30 or more. People must be aware that being overweight and obese are directly associated with many chronic conditions, such as hypertension, heart failure, diabetes, osteoarthritis, and cancer. These findings must be a wake-up call to create policies that are designed to fight against overweight and obesity. A collaborative effort is needed across the country to stop this trend, which is compromising and adversely affecting the lives of many. There is a need for comprehensive wellness programs for such individuals.6
Environmental Factors
Diabetes and obesity are highly associated with environmental factors and are correlated with the availability of open space within neighborhoods and communities. The inclusion of the open space and its association with increased physical activity in adults and adolescents are of considerable interest.7 Physical activity and regular exercise can prevent, reduce the severity of complications, and ameliorate the onset of diabetes and obesity.
Evidence seems to suggest that increased open space means a greater amount of available land within a community to promote exercise and physical activity, which can be the best preventive measure to combat obesity. The amount of open spaces, including public and private outdoor facilities, in a neighborhood is inversely associated with BMI as it promotes opportunities for physical activity.7 Physical settings, including the design of neighborhoods and providing opportunities for individuals to engage in health promoting behaviors have direct and positive impacts on health.8
Access to open space plays an important role in shaping people’s physical activity, which ultimately has positive effects on individuals’ health.9 People who live in regions that have more green and open space have significantly lower rates of diabetes, higher rates of physical activity, lower prevalence of high-fat diets, fewer smokers, and more individuals who eat at least 5 portions of fruits and vegetables daily compare with those with less open space.
Supportive environments, such as parks and other green spaces, are extremely beneficial to promote an active lifestyle. Conversely, living in economically underserved neighborhoods increases risk factors for obesity and diabetes.10 It is essential for local policy makers to identify the needs of community in order to prevent and control the situation.1 People must be encouraged to be well-informed about their health status and participate in physical activity to decrease the risk of diabetes and obesity and improve quality of life.
1. CDC. (2009). MMWR: Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report, 58(45), 1259-1263.
2. Reinberg S. (2015). Half of U.S. adults have diabetes or prediabetes. Retrieved from
3. American Diabetes Association. (2015). Statistics about diabetes. Retrieved from
4. Pessoa Marinho NB, de Vasconcelos HA, Garcia Alencar AP, de Almeida PC, Coelho Damasceno MM. (2013). Risk for type 2 diabetes mellitus and associated factors. Acta Paulista De Enfermagem, 26(6), 569-574.
5. Sullivan MD, Evans G, Anderson R, O’Connor P, Raisch DW, Simmons DL, Narayan KV. (2012). Diabetes symptoms and distress in accord trial participants: Relationship to baseline clinical variables. Clinical Diabetes, 30(3), 101-108.
6. Kelly M. (2015). More than two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese. Retrieved from
7. Oreskovic N, Winickoff J, Kuhlthau K, Romm D, Perrin J. (2009). Obesity and the built environment among Massachusetts children. Clinical Pediatrics, 48(9), 904-912.
8. Norman G, Adams M, Kerr J, Ryan S, Frank L, Roesch, S. (2010). A latent profile analysis of neighborhood recreation environments in relation to adolescent physical activity, sedentary time, and obesity. Journal of Public Health Management & Practice, 16(5), 411-419.
9. Dehghan M, Akhtar-Danesh N, Merchan AT. (2005). Childhood obesity, prevalence and prevention. Retrieved from
10. Fiore K. (2013). More open space leads to less diabetes. Retrieved from

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