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August 10, 2022

Differences in Weight Gain Following Residential Relocation in the Moving to Health (M2H) Study

Cruz, Maricela; Drewnowski, Adam; Bobb, Jennifer F.; Hurvitz, Philip M.; Moudon, Anne Vernez; Cook, Andrea; Mooney, Stephen J.; Buszkiewicz, James H.; Lozano, Paula; Rosenberg, Dori E.; Kapos, Flavia; Theis, Mary Kay; Anau, Jane; Arterburn, David. (2022). Differences in Weight Gain Following Residential Relocation in the Moving to Health (M2H) Study. Epidemiology, 33(5), 747-755.

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Background: Neighborhoods may play an important role in shaping long-term weight trajectory and obesity risk. Studying the impact of moving to another neighborhood may be the most efficient way to determine the impact of the built environment on health. We explored whether residential moves were associated with changes in body weight. Methods: Kaiser Permanente Washington electronic health records were used to identify 21,502 members aged 18-64 who moved within King County, WA between 2005 and 2017. We linked body weight measures to environment measures, including population, residential, and street intersection densities (800 m and 1,600 m Euclidian buffers) and access to supermarkets and fast foods (1,600 m and 5,000 m network distances). We used linear mixed models to estimate associations between postmove changes in environment and changes in body weight. Results: In general, moving from high-density to moderate- or low-density neighborhoods was associated with greater weight gain postmove. For example, those moving from high to low residential density neighborhoods (within 1,600 m) gained an average of 4.5 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 3.0, 5.9) lbs 3 years after moving, whereas those moving from low to high-density neighborhoods gained an average of 1.3 (95% CI = -0.2, 2.9) lbs. Also, those moving from neighborhoods without fast-food access (within 1600m) to other neighborhoods without fast-food access gained less weight (average 1.6 lbs [95% CI = 0.9, 2.4]) than those moving from and to neighborhoods with fast-food access (average 2.8 lbs [95% CI = 2.5, 3.2]). Conclusions: Moving to higher-density neighborhoods may be associated with reductions in adult weight gain.


Body-mass Index; Neighborhood Socioeconomic-status; New-york-city; Built Environment; Physical-activity; Food Environment; Urban Sprawl; Risk-factors; Obesity; Walking; Electronic Medical Records; Fast Foods; Population Density; Residential Density; Residential Moves; Supermarkets