Living in low-income neighborhoods may increase the risk of mobility problems among diabetics

Individuals with type 2 diabetes who live in bad neighborhoods may be at an elevated risk for developing mobility issues, according to a new study from Indiana University researchers.

Investigators knew that living in low-income neighborhoods with poor air quality, loud traffic or industrial noises and poorly maintained streets and sidewalks increases an individual's chances of developing type 2 diabetes. Additionally, the condition has been tied to a range of mobility problems, including an inability to walk a quarter mile or climb up and down stairs.

For the study, which was published in the online journal BMC Public Health, researchers followed the medical records of nearly 600 men and women from the St. Louis area for a period of three years. None of the participants had mobility problems at the beginning of the study.

They found that eight out of 10 cases of lower-body functional limitations occurred in diabetics living in adverse conditions.

"Having diabetes is bad, living under adverse neighborhood conditions is bad, but people with diabetes who live in adverse neighborhood conditions quite remarkably were up to 80 times more likely to develop lower body functional limitations than those having the disease or living under these neighborhood conditions alone," said Douglas Miller, who led the investigation.
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