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The role of local food availability in explaining obesity risk among young school-aged children.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  22381683     Owner:  NLM     Status:  Publisher    
Abstract/OtherAbstract:
In recent years, research and public policy attention has increasingly focused on understanding whether modifiable aspects of the local food environment - the types and composition of food outlets families have proximate access to - are drivers of and potential solutions to the problem of childhood obesity in the United States. Given that much of the earlier published research has documented greater concentrations of fast-food outlets alongside limited access to large grocery stores in neighborhoods with higher shares of racial/ethnic minority groups and residents living in poverty, differences in retail food contexts may indeed exacerbate notable child obesity disparities along socioeconomic and racial/ethnic lines. This paper examines whether the lack of access to more healthy food retailers and/or the greater availability of "unhealthy" food purveyors in residential neighborhoods explains children's risk of excessive weight gain, and whether differential food availability explains obesity disparities. I do so by analyzing a national survey of U.S. children followed over elementary school (Early Childhood Longitudinal Study - Kindergarten Cohort) who are linked to detailed, longitudinal food availability measures from a comprehensive business establishment database (the National Establishment Time Series). I find that children who live in residentially poor and minority neighborhoods are indeed more likely to have greater access to fast-food outlets and convenience stores. However, these neighborhoods also have greater access to other food establishments that have not been linked to increased obesity risk, including large-scale grocery stores. When examined in a multi-level modeling framework, differential exposure to food outlets does not independently explain weight gain over time in this sample of elementary school-aged children. Variation in residential food outlet availability also does not explain socioeconomic and racial/ethnic differences. It may thus be important to reconsider whether food access is, in all settings, a salient factor in understanding obesity risk among young children.
Authors:
Helen Lee
Publication Detail:
Type:  JOURNAL ARTICLE     Date:  2012-2-10
Journal Detail:
Title:  Social science & medicine (1982)     Volume:  -     ISSN:  1873-5347     ISO Abbreviation:  -     Publication Date:  2012 Feb 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-3-2     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  8303205     Medline TA:  Soc Sci Med     Country:  -    
Other Details:
Languages:  ENG     Pagination:  -     Citation Subset:  -    
Copyright Information:
Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Affiliation:
Public Policy Institute of California, 500 Washington Street, Suite 800, San Francisco, CA 94111, United States.
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