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; 3:2. 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.

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    ABSTRACT: Background Current UK policy in relation to the influence of the `food environment¿ on childhood obesity appears to be driven largely on assumptions or speculations because empirical evidence is lacking and findings from studies are inconsistent. The aim of this study was to investigate the number of food outlets and the proximity of food outlets in the same sample of children, without solely focusing on fast food.Methods Cross sectional study over 3 years (n¿=¿13,291 data aggregated). Body mass index (BMI) was calculated for each participant, overweight and obesity were defined as having a BMI >85th (sBMI 1.04) and 95th (sBMI 1.64) percentiles respectively (UK90 growth charts)). Home and school neighbourhoods were defined as circular buffers with a 2km Euclidean radius, centred on these locations. Commuting routes were calculated using the shortest straight line distance, with a 2km buffer to capture varying routes. Data on food outlet locations was sourced from Leeds City Council covering the study area and mapped against postcode. Food outlets were categorised into three groups, supermarkets, takeaway and retail. Proximity to the nearest food outlet in the home and school environmental domain was also investigated. Age, gender, ethnicity and deprivation (IDACI) were included as covariates in all models.ResultsThere is no evidence of an association between the number of food outlets and childhood obesity in any of these environments; Home Q4 vs. Q1 OR¿=¿1.11 (95%CI =0.95-1.30); School Q4 vs. Q1 OR¿=¿1.00 (95%CI 0.87 ¿ 1.16); commute Q4 vs. Q1 OR¿=¿0.1.00 (95%CI 0.83-1.20). Similarly there is no evidence of an association between the proximity to the nearest food outlet and childhood obesity in the home (OR¿=¿0.77 [95%CI =0.61 ¿ 0.98]) or the school (OR =1.01 [95%CI 0.84 ¿ 1.23]) environment.Conclusions This study provides little support for the notion that exposure to food outlets in the home, school and commuting neighbourhoods increase the risk of obesity in children. It seems that the evidence is not well placed to support Governmental interventions / recommendations currently being proposed and that policy makers should approach policies designed to limit food outlets with caution.
    International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 12/2014; 11(1):138. · 3.68 Impact Factor
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    Irene Peinado, Estela Rosa, Ana Heredia, Ana Andrés
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    ABSTRACT: The differences in the external osmotic medium, dry or dissolved osmotic agent and its concentration (constant or variable) can significantly influence the kinetics of mass transfer. The objective of this work was to compare water and solute transport during the osmotic dehydration of strawberry pieces under different external conditions, wet or dry osmotic agent, with varying types of sugar (sucrose, fructose and isomaltulose). The evolution of the liquid phase concentration as well as the net fluxes under the different scenarios was described and modelled. Results showed that mass transfer kinetics were higher when the concentration of the external medium was variable, in the wet process slightly superior than in the dry process.
    FMFI. 08/2013; 2(3):111-117.
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    ABSTRACT: Neighborhood environments have received considerable attention in recent local, state, and national obesity prevention initiatives, with a particular focus on food deserts, or areas with poor access to healthy foods. Yet, there are inconsistencies in the evidence base, suggesting a nuanced association between neighborhood environment, food availability, diet behaviors, and obesity. There is heterogeneity in associations between environmental exposures and health outcomes across race/ethnicity, gender, region, and urbanicity, which results in complexity in the interpretation of findings. There are several limitations in the literature, including a predominance of cross-sectional studies, reliance on commercial business listings, lack of attention to the process by which diet resources are established and expanded within neighborhoods and the potential for individuals to selectively migrate to locate near such facilities, a predominant focus on residential neighborhoods, and lack of information about the decision-making process underlying purchasing patterns. More research is needed to address the complexity of individual-level residential decision making as well as the purposeful placement of food environment resources across social and geographic space using longitudinal data and complex statistical approaches. In addition, improvements in data quality and depth related to food access and availability are needed, including behavioral data on purchase patterns and interactions with the food environment, and greater attention to heterogeneity across subpopulations. As policy changes to the food environment move forward, it is critical that there is rigorous and scientific evaluation of environmental changes and their impact on individual-level diet choices and behaviors, and their further influence on body weight.
    Advances in Nutrition 11/2014; 5(6):809-17. · 3.20 Impact Factor

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