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No Spillover Effect of the Foreclosure Crisis on Weight Change: The Diabetes Study of Northern California (DISTANCE)

The emerging body of research suggests the unprecedented increase in housing foreclosures and unemployment between 2007 and 2009 had detrimental effects on health. Using data from electronic health records of 105,919 patients with diabetes in Northern California, this study examined how increases in foreclosure rates from 2006 to 2010 affected weight change. We anticipated that two of the pathways that explain how the spike in foreclosure rates affects weight gain-increasing stress and declining salutary health behaviors- would be acute in a population with diabetes because of metabolic sensitivity to stressors and health behaviors. Controlling for unemployment, housing prices, temporal trends, and time-invariant confounders with individual fixed effects, we found no evidence of an association between the foreclosure rate in each patient’s census block of residence and body mass index. Our results suggest, although more than half of the population was exposed to at least one foreclosure within their census block, the foreclosure crisis did not independently impact weight change.

Authors: Downing J; Karter A; Rodriguez H; Dow WH; Adler N; Schillinger D; Warton M; Laraia B

PLoS ONE. 2016;11(3):e0151334. Epub 2016-03-17.

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