Are fast food restaurants an environmental risk factor for obesity?

Division of Epidemiology & Community Health, University of Minnesota School of Public Health, 1300 South 2nd Street, Suite 300, Minneapolis, MN 55454-1015, USA. .
International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity (Impact Factor: 3.68). 02/2006; 3(1):2. DOI: 10.1186/1479-5868-3-2
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Eating at "fast food" restaurants has increased and is linked to obesity. This study examined whether living or working near "fast food" restaurants is associated with body weight.
A telephone survey of 1033 Minnesota residents assessed body height and weight, frequency of eating at restaurants, and work and home addresses. Proximity of home and work to restaurants was assessed by Global Index System (GIS) methodology.
Eating at "fast food" restaurants was positively associated with having children, a high fat diet and Body Mass Index (BMI). It was negatively associated with vegetable consumption and physical activity. Proximity of "fast food" restaurants to home or work was not associated with eating at "fast food" restaurants or with BMI. Proximity of "non-fast food" restaurants was not associated with BMI, but was associated with frequency of eating at those restaurants.
Failure to find relationships between proximity to "fast food" restaurants and obesity may be due to methodological weaknesses, e.g. the operational definition of "fast food" or "proximity", or homogeneity of restaurant proximity. Alternatively, the proliferation of "fast food" restaurants may not be a strong unique cause of obesity.

  • Source
    • "This suggests that these can be treated as inde - pendent dimensions . We measured direct fast - food experience by asking respondents to report how many days in the past 30 days they had eaten at a fast - food restaurant ( Jeffery , Baxter , McGuire , & Linde , 2006 ) . "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Fast-food advertising abounds on television (TV), and programs targeting youth often display fast-food consumption but rarely with any negative consequences. Cultivation research maintains that cumulative exposure to TV influences audiences' views of and beliefs about the real world. Thus, the amount of TV adolescents watch is likely to bias their views of the consequences of eating fast food. This research posits that this relationship varies as a function of adolescents' actual experience with fast food. Two cross-sectional surveys conducted in the cultivation research tradition assess the relationship between the amount of adolescents' regular exposure to TV and their beliefs about the risks and benefits of eating fast food. Teenage children of members of online panels reported hours of TV viewing, beliefs about the consequences of eating fast food, and their frequency of fast-food consumption. In both studies, beliefs about health risks of fast-food consumption vary as a function of the amount of TV watched. Heavy TV viewers have less negative and more positive beliefs about the consequences of fast-food consumption than light viewers. As direct experience with fast food increases, the relationship between TV viewing and risk perceptions weakens, but the relationship between TV viewing and positive perceptions strengthens. These moderated relationships remain when we control for physical activity (Study 1) and the density of fast-food restaurants in respondents' geographical area (Study 2). Given the role of TV viewing in biasing perceptions of the consequences of eating fast food, public health researchers and practitioners should carefully monitor and perhaps regulate the amount of fast-food advertising on TV and the content of TV programs. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
    Appetite 05/2015; 92. DOI:10.1016/j.appet.2015.05.023 · 2.69 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "More efficient utilization of frontier technologies in semantic analysis to assist in data mining would be beneficial for expanding the sampling period and enlarging the sampling size. Last, in urban food access studies, the maximum values for walkable distance to food retailers were loosely defined as ranging from 0.25 miles to two miles (Block & Kouba, 2006; Jeffery, Baxter, McGuire, & Linde, 2006; Mulangu & Clark, 2012), and some results were interpreted by non-spatial units, such as the percentage of travel cost in food budget (Hallett & McDermott, 2011). Based on the relatively small scale of our study, results showed that a buffer distance of less than 0.5 miles failed to capture a sufficient number of food outlets , while a distance of more than two miles showed little variation. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Access to nutritious food is imperative to physical well-being and quality of life. Previous food environment studies have revealed a disparity of access to healthful food on various geographical scales. An overlooked facet of this spatial perspective is the impact of the food environment at the individual level. Individuals tend to make diverse food purchasing and dining choices, including where, when, how, and which types of food to acquire. An unexplored avenue for further investigation is measuring the extent to which people's preference for food is elicited by exposure to their immediate food environment. This paper takes an innovative approach to this question by soliciting individual data about food-related activities from social media, or specifically, “tweets” (messages sent on Twitter). With spatiotemporally tagged information, tweets provide an ideal method for measuring the exposure to the food environment in real time. This measure, as a representative of individual food access, is associated with users' particular diet choices conveyed in their tweets. By comparing groups of Twitter users who shop in grocery stores to those who dine at fast food restaurants, we found that the prevalence of grocery stores that stock fresh produce within an individual's neighborhood may significantly influence him or her to make nutritious food choices. This study has a great potential to inform health professionals and stakeholders of the significance of social media in assisting with crowdsourcing human subject data that incorporate spatiotemporal dimensions and to explore individual diets in relation to their perceived food environment, which can positively impact the health of communities.
    Applied Geography 07/2014; 51:82–89. DOI:10.1016/j.apgeog.2014.04.003 · 3.08 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "For example, because fast-food restaurants are not as popular in Hong Kong as in Western countries (Ho et al. 2010), they may have a smaller effect on eating behaviours than in North America. Previous studies suggest that 15%–80% of children and youth have at least 1 fast-food restaurant in their home neighbourhood or within close proximity to their home (Hearst et al. 2011; Ho et al. 2010; Jago et al. 2007; Jeffery et al. 2006; Laska et al. 2010; Pearce et al. 2009; Timperio et al. 2008, 2009). Similarly, in our study, 68% of Canadian youths living in urban areas and within 1 km of their school were exposed to at least 1 fast-food restaurant in their home neighbourhood. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The study objective was to estimate the proportion of excessive fast-food consumption by youth that is attributable to living and attending school in a neighbourhood with a moderate or high density of fast-food restaurants. This was a cross-sectional study of 6099 Canadian youths (aged 11-15 years) from 255 school neighbourhoods. All participants lived within 1 km of their school. The density of chain fast-food restaurants within a 1-km circular buffer surrounding each school was determined using geographic information systems. Excessive fast-food consumption (≥2 times per week) was assessed by questionnaire. Multilevel logistic regression analysis was used to examine associations. The population attributable risk estimates of excessive fast-food consumption due to neighbourhood exposure to fast-food restaurants were determined based on the prevalence of exposure and the results from the logistic regression. Eight percent of participants were excessive fast-food consumers. After adjusting for sociodemographic factors (i.e., gender, race, and socioeconomic status), it was found that youths from neighbourhoods with a moderate (odds ratio (OR), 1.68; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.11-2.54) or high (OR 1.70; 95% CI 1.12-2.56) density of chain fast-food restaurants were more likely to be excessive fast-food consumers than were youths from neighbourhoods with no chain fast-food restaurants. Approximately 31% of excessive consumption was attributable to living in neighbourhoods with a moderate or high density of fast-food restaurants. Thus, the fast-food retail environment within which youth live and go to school is an important contributor to their eating behaviours.
    Applied Physiology Nutrition and Metabolism 04/2014; 39(4):480-6. DOI:10.1139/apnm-2013-0208 · 2.01 Impact Factor
Show more