Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 100, Issue 3, pp 189–193 | Cite as

Demographic and Urban Form Correlates of Healthful and Unhealthful Food Availability in Montréal, Canada

  • Mark DanielEmail author
  • Yan Kestens
  • Catherine Paquet
Quantitative Research



This study sought to extend previous analyses of food insecurity in Montréal by examining the relationship between neighbourhood socio-demographic and urban form variables and sources of food both unhealthful (fast-food outlets, FFO) and healthful (stores selling fruits and vegetables, FVS).


Densities of FFO and FVS were computed for 862 Census tract areas (CTA) (defined as census tract with a 1-km buffer around its limits) for the Montréal Census Metropolitan Area (CMA). Predictor variables included CTA socio-demographic characteristics reflecting income, household structure, language, and education, and urban form measures, specifically, densities of local roads, main roads, expressways and highways. Food source densities were regressed on CTA characteristics using stepwise regression.


Socio-demographic and urban form measures explained 60% and 73% of the variance in densities of FFO and FVS, respectively. FFO were more prevalent in CTA with higher proportions of full-time students and households speaking neither French nor English; lower proportions of married individuals, children and older adults; and more high-traffic roads. FVS were more prevalent in CTA with higher proportions of single residents, university-educated residents and households speaking neither French nor English; lower proportion of French-speakers; and more local roads. Median household income was not related to the density of FFO or FVS.


The availability of healthful and unhealthful food varies across the Montréal CMA. Areas with lower education and more French-speaking households have a lesser availability of FVS. The association of FFO with high-traffic roadways and areas with high school attendance suggests a point for intervention via commercial zoning changes.

Key words

Residence characteristics socioeconomic factors food supply obesity 



Contribuer à l’étude de l’insécurité alimentaire à Montréal en analysant la relation entre caractéristiques socio-démographiques, forme urbaine et sources alimentaires malsaine (restauration rapide, RR) et saine (commerces de fruits et légumes, CFL).


Les densités de RR et de CFL ont été calculées pour 862 aires de secteurs de recensement (ASR) (secteur de recensement et 1 km audelà) pour la Région Métropolitaine de Recensement (RMR) de Montréal. Ces densités sont modélisées à partir de caractéristiques socio-démographiques concernant le revenu, la structure des ménages, la langue et l’éducation, ainsi que des mesures liées à la forme urbaine soit les densités de routes locales, principales, express, et autoroutes. Les associations entre ces variables environnementales et les densités de RR et CFL ont été établies à l’aide de régressions multiples séquentielles.


Les mesures socio-démographiques et de forme urbaine expliquent respectivement 60 % et 73 % de la variance des densités de RR et de CFL. La densité de RR était positivement associée à la proportion d’étudiants à temps plein et de ménages ne parlant ni français, ni anglais, et à la densité de routes à haute circulation, et négativement associée à la proportion de personnes mariées, d’enfants et de personnes âgées. La densité de CFL était positivement associée à la proportion de personnes célibataires, de résidents avec diplôme universitaire et de ménages ne parlant ni anglais, ni français, et à la densité de routes locales, et négativement associée à la proportion de francophones. Le revenu médian n’était pas associé aux densités de RR et de CFL.


La disponibilité de nourriture saine et malsaine varie dans la RMR de Montréal. La disponibilité de CFL est moindre dans les zones avec de faibles taux d’éducation et une plus grande proportion de francophones. Les liens entre la RR, les routes à haute circulation, et les zones à forte concentration d’étudiants suggèrent de possibles interventions via le zonage.

Mots clés

facteurs sociodémographiques obésité paysage alimentaire forme urbaine 


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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark Daniel
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Yan Kestens
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
  • Catherine Paquet
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Axe santé des populationsCentre de Recherche du Centre Hospitalier de l’Université de MontréalMontréalCanada
  2. 2.Département de médecine sociale et préventive, Faculté de médecineUniversité de MontréalMontréalCanada
  3. 3.School of Health SciencesThe University of South AustraliaAdelaideAustralia
  4. 4.Secteur environnement urbain et santéDirection de santé publique de MontréalMontréalCanada

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