Journal of Public Health Policy

, Volume 34, Issue 3, pp 424–438

Overweight and obesity: Can we reconcile evidence about supermarkets and fast food retailers for public health policy?

Authors

  • Deborah Viola
    • Department of Health Policy & Management, School of Health Sciences and Practice, New York Medical College
    • Department of Health Policy & Management, School of Health Sciences and Practice, New York Medical College
  • Andrew R Maroko
    • Department of Health Sciences, Lehman College, City University of New York
  • Clyde B Schechter
    • Department of Family & Social Medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine
  • Nancy Sohler
    • Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education, City College of New York
  • Andrew Rundle
    • Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University
  • Kathryn M Neckerman
    • Population Research Center, Columbia University
  • Juliana Maantay
    • Earth, Environmental, and Geospatial Sciences Department, Lehman College, City University of New York
Original Article

DOI: 10.1057/jphp.2013.19

Cite this article as:
Viola, D., Arno, P., Maroko, A. et al. J Public Health Pol (2013) 34: 424. doi:10.1057/jphp.2013.19

Abstract

The aim of this study is to determine whether access to fast food outlets and supermarkets is associated with overweight and obesity in New York City neighborhoods. We use a Bayesian ecologic approach for spatial prediction. Consistent with prior research, we find no association between fast food density and overweight or obesity. Consistent with prior research, we find that supermarket access has a salutary impact on overweight and obesity. Given the lack of empirical evidence linking fast food retailers with adverse health outcomes, policymakers should be encouraged to adopt policies that incentivize the establishment of supermarkets and the modification of existing food store markets and retailers to offer healthier choices. Reaching within neighborhoods and modifying the physical environment and public health prevention and intervention efforts based on the characteristics of those neighborhoods may play a key role in creating healthier communities.

Keywords

overweight physical environment fast food supermarkets parks regulation health policy

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2013