Skip to main content

Advertisement

Log in

The Association between Obesity and Urban Food Environments

  • Published:
Journal of Urban Health Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Abstract

Several studies have examined associations between the food retail environment and obesity, though virtually no work has been done in the urban South, where obesity rates are among the highest in the country. This study assessed associations between access to food retail outlets and obesity in New Orleans. Data on individual characteristics and body weight were collected by telephone interviews from a random sample of adults (N = 3,925) living in New Orleans in 2004–2005. The neighborhood of each individual was geo-mapped by creating a 2-km buffer around the center point of the census tract in which they lived. Food retailer counts were created by summing the total number of each food store type and fast food establishment within this 2-km neighborhood. Hierarchical linear models assessed associations between access to food retailers and obesity status. After adjusting for individual characteristics, each additional supermarket in a respondent’s neighborhood was associated with a reduced odds for obesity (OR 0.93, 95% CI 0.88–0.99). Fast food restaurant (OR 1.01, 95% CI 1.00–1.02) and convenience store (OR 1.01, 95% CI 1.00–1.02) access were each predictive of greater obesity odds. An individual’s access to food stores and fast food restaurants may play a part in determining weight status. Future studies with longitudinal and experimental designs are needed to test whether modifications in the food environment may assist in the prevention of obesity.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Similar content being viewed by others

References

  1. Ogden CL, Carroll MD, Curtin LR, McDowell MA, Tabak CJ, Flegal KM. Prevalence of overweight and obesity in the United States, 1999–2004. JAMA. 2006;295(13):1549–1555.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  2. Thompson D, Edelsberg J, Colditz GA, Bird AP, Oster G. Lifetime health and economic consequences of obesity. Arch Intern Med. 1999;159(18):2177–2183.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  3. Allison DB, Fontaine KR, Manson JE, Stevens J, VanItallie TB. Annual deaths attributable to obesity in the United States. JAMA. 1999;282(16):1530–1538.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  4. French SA, Story M, Jeffery RW. Environmental influences on eating and physical activity. Annu Rev Public Health. 2001;22:309–335.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  5. Hill JO, Peters JC. Environmental contributions to the obesity epidemic. Science. 1998;280(5368):1371–1374.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  6. McKinnon RA, Reedy J, Handy SL, Rodgers AB. Measuring the food and physical activity environments: shaping the research agenda. Am J Prev Med. 2009;36(4 Suppl):S81–85.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  7. Lopez RP. Neighborhood risk factors for obesity. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2007;15(8):2111–2119.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Morland K, Diez Roux AV, Wing S. Supermarkets, other food stores, and obesity: the atherosclerosis risk in communities study. Am J Prev Med. 2006;30(4):333–339.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  9. Powell LM, Auld MC, Chaloupka FJ, O’Malley PM, Johnston LD. Associations between access to food stores and adolescent body mass index. Am J Prev Med. 2007;33(4 Suppl):S301–307.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  10. Morland KB, Evenson KR. Obesity prevalence and the local food environment. Health Place. 2009;15(2):491–495.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  11. Wang MC, Kim S, Gonzalez AA, MacLeod KE, Winkleby MA. Socioeconomic and food-related physical characteristics of the neighbourhood environment are associated with body mass index. J Epidemiol Community Health. 2007;61(6):491–498.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  12. Davis B, Carpenter C. Proximity of fast-food restaurants to schools and adolescent obesity. Am J Public Health. 2009;99(3):505–510.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  13. Maddock J. The relationship between obesity and the prevalence of fast food restaurants: state-level analysis. Am J Health Promot. 2004;19(2):137–143.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  14. Mehta NK, Chang VW. Weight status and restaurant availability: a multilevel analysis. Am J Prev Med. 2008;34(2):127–133.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  15. Inagami S, Cohen DA, Brown AF, Asch SM. Body mass index, neighborhood fast food and restaurant concentration, and car ownership. J Urban Health. 2009;86(5):683–695.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  16. Burdette HL, Whitaker RC. Neighborhood playgrounds, fast food restaurants, and crime: relationships to overweight in low-income preschool children. Prev Med. 2004;38(1):57–63.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  17. Jeffery RW, Baxter J, McGuire M, Linde J. Are fast food restaurants an environmental risk factor for obesity? Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2006;3:2.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  18. Sturm R, Datar A. Body mass index in elementary school children, metropolitan area food prices and food outlet density. Public Health. 2005;119(12):1059–1068.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  19. Powell LM, Auld AC, Chaloupka FJ, O’Malley PM, Johnston LD. Access to fast food and food prices: relationship with fruit and vegetable consumption and overweight among adolescents. Adv Health Econ Health Serv Res. 2007;17:23–48.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  20. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. SMART: selected metropolitan/micropolitan area risk factor trends. Available at: http://apps.nccd.cdc.gov/brfss-smart. Accessed August 2008.

  21. Block JP, Scribner RA, DeSalvo KB. Fast food, race/ethnicity, and income: a geographic analysis. Am J Prev Med. 2004;27(3):211–217.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  22. Rose D, Bodor JN, Swalm C, Rice JC, Farley TA. Disparities in the food environment in New Orleans and Southern Louisiana. Paper presented at: National Symposium on Race, Place, and the Environment after Katrina, Deep South Center for Environmental Justice at Dillard University, 2008; New Orleans, LA.

  23. Farley TA, Rice J, Bodor JN, Cohen DA, Bluthenthal RN, Rose D. Measuring the food environment: shelf space of fruits, vegetables, and snack foods in stores. J Urban Health. 2009;86(5):672–682.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  24. Glanz K, Sallis JF, Saelens BE, Frank LD. Nutrition Environment Measures Survey in stores (NEMS-S): development and evaluation. Am J Prev Med. 2007;32(4):282–289.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  25. Beaudoin CE, Fernandez C, Wall JL, Farley TA. Promoting healthy eating and physical activity short-term effects of a mass media campaign. Am J Prev Med. 2007;32(3):217–223.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  26. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Operational and User’s Guide, Version 3.0 2006.

  27. Morland K, Wing S, Diez Roux A, Poole C. Neighborhood characteristics associated with the location of food stores and food service places. Am J Prev Med. 2002;22(1):23–29.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  28. US Census Bureau. Poverty thresholds by size of family and number of related children under 18 years. Available at: http://www.census.gov/hhes/poverty/threshld/thresh04.html. Accessed January 2007.

  29. US Census Bureau. Poverty thresholds by size of family and number of related children under 18 years. Available at: http://www.census.gov/hhes/poverty/threshld/thresh05.html. Accessed January 2007.

  30. Bodor JN, Rose D, Farley TA, Swalm C, Scott SK. Neighbourhood fruit and vegetable availability and consumption: the role of small food stores in an urban environment. Public Health Nutr. 2008;11(4):413–420.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  31. Franco M, Diez-Roux AV, Nettleton JA, et al. Availability of healthy foods and dietary patterns: the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009;89(3):897–904.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  32. Laraia BA, Siega-Riz AM, Kaufman JS, Jones SJ. Proximity of supermarkets is positively associated with diet quality index for pregnancy. Prev Med. 2004;39(5):869–875.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  33. Morland K, Wing S, Diez Roux A. The contextual effect of the local food environment on residents’ diets: the atherosclerosis risk in communities study. Am J Public Health. 2002;92(11):1761–1767.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  34. Rose D, Richards R. Food store access and household fruit and vegetable use among participants in the US Food Stamp Program. Public Health Nutr. 2004;7(8):1081–1088.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  35. Wrigley N, Warm D, Margetts B. Deprivation, diet, and food retail access: findings from the Leeds “food-deserts” study. Environ Plan A. 2003;35:151–188.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  36. Jago R, Baranowski T, Baranowski JC, Cullen KW, Thompson D. Distance to food stores & adolescent male fruit and vegetable consumption: mediation effects. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2007;4:35.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  37. Timperio A, Ball K, Roberts R, Campbell K, Andrianopoulos N, Crawford D. Children’s fruit and vegetable intake: associations with the neighbourhood food environment. Prev Med. 2008;46(4):331–335.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  38. Rowland ML. Self-reported weight and height. Am J Clin Nutr. 1990;52(6):1125–1133.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  39. Apparicio P, Cloutier MS, Shearmur R. The case of Montreal’s missing food deserts: evaluation of accessibility to food supermarkets. Int J Health Geogr. 2007;6:4.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  40. Glanz K. Measuring food environments: a historical perspective. Am J Prev Med. 2009;36(4 Suppl):S93–98.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  41. Lytle LA. Measuring the food environment: state of the science. Am J Prev Med. 2009;36(4 Suppl):S134–144.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  42. Story M, Giles-Corti B, Yaroch AL, et al. Work group IV: future directions for measures of the food and physical activity environments. Am J Prev Med. 2009;36(4 Suppl):S182–188.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

Support for this research comes from a grant (#2006-55215-16711) from the National Research Initiative of the US Department of Agriculture’s National Institute for Food and Agriculture; from a grant (#R21CA121167) from the National Cancer Institute under the program entitled Economics of Diet, Activity, and Energy Balance; from a Maternal and Child Health/Epidemiology Doctoral Training grant from the Maternal and Child Health Bureau of the US Health Resources and Services Administration; and from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (#1U48DP001948-01).

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to J. Nicholas Bodor PhD, MPH.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Bodor, J.N., Rice, J.C., Farley, T.A. et al. The Association between Obesity and Urban Food Environments. J Urban Health 87, 771–781 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11524-010-9460-6

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11524-010-9460-6

Keywords

Navigation