Obesity-Promoting Food Environments and the Spatial Clustering of Food Outlets Around Schools
ABSTRACT The increasing prevalence of overweight and obesity in school-aged children is potentially linked to contextual influences such as the food environment around schools. The proximity of fast-food and convenience stores to schools may enhance access to unhealthy foods and have a negative impact on diet.
This study used spatial cluster analysis to determine whether food outlets are clustered around schools and evaluated the extent of food outlet clustering by school and school neighborhood sociodemographic characteristics.
The locations in 2008 of all schools, fast-food outlets, and convenience stores in five urban regions across New Zealand were geocoded. Using GIS analysis conducted in 2009, the number and proportion of outlets within 400-m and 800-m road distance around each school was calculated. The spatial clustering of food outlets within 1.5 km of schools was determined using a multi-type K-function. Food outlet type, school level, SES, the degree of population density, and commercial land use zoning around each school were compared.
Primary/intermediate schools had a total proportion of 19.3 outlets per 1000 students within 800 m compared to 6.6 for secondary schools. The most socially deprived quintile of schools had three times the number and proportion of food outlets compared to the least-deprived quintile. There was a high degree of clustering of food outlets around schools, with up to 5.5 times more outlets than might be expected. Outlets were most clustered up to 800 m from schools and around secondary schools, socially deprived schools, and schools in densely populated and commercially zoned areas.
Food environments in New Zealand within walking proximity to schools are characterized by a high density of fast-food outlets and convenience stores, particularly in more-socially deprived settings. These obesogenic environments provide ready access to obesity-promoting foods that may have a negative impact on student diet and contribute to inequalities in health.
- SourceAvailable from: Tayyab I Shah[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: We examined location-related accessibility to healthy and unhealthy food sources for school going children in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. We compared proximity to food sources from school sites and from small clusters of homes (i.e., dissemination blocks) as a proxy for home location. We found that 1) unhealthy food sources are more prevalent near schools in lower income than higher income neighbourhoods; 2) unhealthy compared to healthy food sources are more accessible from schools as well as from places of residence; and 3) while some characteristics of neighbourhood low socio-economic status are associated with less accessibility to healthy food sources, there is no consistent pattern of access. Greater access to unhealthy food sources from schools in low-income neighbourhoods is likely a reflection of the greater degree of commercialization. Our spatial examination provides a more nuanced understanding of accessibility through our approach of comparing place of residence and school access to food sources.Spatial and Spatio-temporal Epidemiology 08/2014; DOI:10.1016/j.sste.2014.07.001
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore the location of fast-food outlets around secondary schools and the influence of fast-food availability on the food choices of school children in an inner-London borough. Design/methodology/approach – A number of methods including: mapping of outlets relative to schools; sampling food; gathering data on secondary school food policies; observing food behaviour in fast food outlets and focus groups with young people. Findings were fed back to a committee consisting of representatives from nutrition, public health, planning services and local community groups. Findings – There are concentrations of fast-food outlets near schools and students reported use of these, including "stories" of skipping lunch in order to save money and eat after school at these outlets. Food from fast-food outlets was high in fat, saturated fat and salt, but these are not the only source of high such foods, with many of the students reporting buying from shops near the school or on the way to or from school. At lunchtime food outlets were less likely to be used by school students in areas near schools that have a "closed gate" policy. Research limitations/implications – The "snapshot" nature of the research limited what can be said about the food behaviours of the children outside school hours. Practical implications – The local policy context requires action to improve both the food offered in schools and the immediate environment around the school in order to tackle fast-food and other competitive foods on offer outside the school. Originality/value – This is one of the first studies in the UK to systematically map fast food outlets around schools and explore what might be done. This research shows how it is possible to link the findings of local research and develop local responses from both public health and local authority planning perspectives. The research moves away from a mere documenting of problems to devising integrated public health solutions. The findings show how public health and planning services can work together to the mutual benefit of each other.British Food Journal 02/2014; 116(3). DOI:10.1108/BFJ-02-2012-0042 · 0.65 Impact Factor
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Abstract: Inspired on Social Sustainability as a health matter, this article displays an approach to analyze the Mexican food environment by observing the space distribution patterns of fast food establishments and convenience stores with greater presence in Monterrey’s Metropolitan Area, located in Northeastern Mexico. Particularly, we aim to identify and describe the allocation pattern of fast food places in relation to their spatial location, considering the circulation routes hierarchy, the poverty polygons, and the socioeconomic characteristics of the population that lives surrounding these polygons. The results show that the space distribution is mainly characterized by three types of commercial conglomerates patterns; the most of them are located on main routes and in a very short distance to poverty polygons. This urban structure facilitates the existence of socially unsustainable environmental conditions because it specially affects the nutrition health of people living in lower income communities.