The waistlines of people living in outer suburbs are expanding quicker than those of people living near the city, Australian research shows.
A study has tracked more than 2000 adults living in Adelaide during the past four years and found the waistlines of people living 20km or further from the CBD grew twice as much as those of people living within 9km of the city.
The waists of those in the outer areas grew on average by 2.4cm over the four years compared with a 1.2cm increase for those close to the city.
Lead researcher Takemi Sugiyama, from Australian Catholic University's Institute for Health and Ageing, says the finding will help improve understanding of the impact of urban sprawl on growing levels of obesity in Australia.
He said a sedentary lifestyle, reliance on cars and with a lack of local infrastructure promoting active living, could have contributed to the bigger waistline boost in sprawled areas.
"Expanding the urban growth boundary without providing infrastructure supporting active lifestyles such as public transport, local shops, and open spaces can pose a serious threat to public health over the medium-to-long term," Professor Sugiyama said.
"The findings highlight the need for greater collaboration between the health, planning and transport sectors."
He said waist circumstance, which measures abdominal fat, is an indicator of increased risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.