A 16-year study by the Department of Housing and Urban Development of families in poverty found that simply moving to a better neighborhood reduces the incidence of obesity and diabetes.

The study involved 4,498 volunteers living in public housing; some were given vouchers so they could afford to live in middle-class neighborhoods, some had vouchers to live in the same neighborhood but got help with rent, and some got neither.

In other words, the only significant change to the living situation was neighborhood, not income. And the study found that

The health of people who received rent subsidies but did not move showed no significant improvement. But the people who moved to middle-class neighborhoods were about 5% less likely to be obese and show signs of diabetes than were people in the control group, the team reports today in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Nature vs. nurture? Another thing to ponder.

Click here to read the story in Wired.