Field validation of listings of food stores and commercial physical activity establishments from secondary data

School of Health Sciences, University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia.
International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity (Impact Factor: 4.11). 12/2008; 5(1):58. DOI: 10.1186/1479-5868-5-58
Source: PubMed


Food- and activity-related establishments are increasingly viewed as neighbourhood resources that potentially condition health-related behaviour. The primary objective of the current study was to establish, using ground truthing (on-site verification), the validity of measures of availability of food stores and physical activity establishments that were obtained from commercial database and Internet searches. A secondary objective was to examine differences in validity results according to neighbourhood characteristics and commercial establishment categories.
Lists of food stores and physical activity-related establishments in 12 census tracts within the Montreal metropolitan region were compiled using a commercial database (n = 171 establishments) and Internet search engines (n = 123 establishments). Ground truthing through field observations was performed to assess the presence of listed establishments and identify those absent. Percentage agreement, sensitivity (proportion of establishments found in the field that were listed), and positive predictive value (proportion of listed establishments found in the field) were calculated and contrasted according to data sources, census tracts characteristics, and establishment categories.
Agreement with field observations was good (0.73) for the commercial list, and moderate (0.60) for the Internet-based list. The commercial list was superior to the Internet-based list for correctly listing establishments present in the field (sensitivity), but slightly inferior in terms of the likelihood that a listed establishment was present in the field (positive predictive value). Agreement was higher for food stores than for activity-related establishments.
Commercial data sources may provide a valid alternative to field observations and could prove a valuable tool in the evaluation of commercial environments relevant to eating behaviour. In contrast, this study did not find strong evidence in support of commercial and Internet data sources to represent neighbourhood opportunities for active lifestyle.

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Available from: Yan Kestens, Sep 09, 2015
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    • "Our research team has performed a small validation study of over 400 facilities listed in the InfoUSA database in two US counties and found that 86% of the facilities were located in the field on the exact street segment or on an adjacent segment. These findings are comparable to three recent studies that assessed the validity of commercial facility databases using GIS techniques and field audits and found good to moderate percentage agreement and sensitivity for correctly identifying and locating existing facilities (Bader et al., 2010, Boone et al., 2008, Paquet et al., 2008). We did not restrict to any particular business type in this analysis and instead included all points of interest. "
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    ABSTRACT: Uncertainty in the relevant spatial context may drive heterogeneity in findings on the built environment and energy balance. To estimate the effect of this uncertainty, we conducted a sensitivity analysis defining intersection and business densities and counts within different buffer sizes and shapes on associations with self-reported walking and body mass index. Linear regression results indicated that the scale and shape of buffers influenced study results and may partly explain the inconsistent findings in the built environment and energy balance literature.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2014 · Health & Place
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    • "However, our study provides important insight into the changing availability of the food outlets by areas’ different contextual characteristics in the U.S. Third, the data in ZBP may have classification error, but it could be non-differential with respect to the local contextual factors of interest in our study. Some studies suggested commercial database of food establishments as a valid source of data for geographical area equal or larger than census tract level [38,39]. Nevertheless, how the error in ZBP data could systematically vary with local characteristics still need further investigation. "
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    ABSTRACT: Little is known about the dynamics of the food outlet distributions associated with local contextual factors in the U.S. This study examines the changes in food stores/services at the 5-digit Zip Code Tabulated Area (ZCTA5) level in the U.S., and assesses contextual factors associated with the changes. Data from 27,878 ZCTA5s in the contiguous United States without an extreme change in the number of 6 types of food stores/services (supermarkets, small-size grocery stores, convenience stores, fresh/specialty food markets, carry-out restaurants, and full-service restaurants) were used. ZCTA5s' contextual factors were from the 2000 Census. Numbers of food stores/services were derived from the Census Business Pattern databases. Linear regression models assessed contextual factors' influences (racial/ethnic compositions, poverty rate, urbanization level, and foreign-born population%) on 1-year changes in food stores/services during 2000-2001, adjusted for population size, total business change, and census regions. Small-size grocery stores and fresh/specialty food markets increased more and convenience stores decreased more in Hispanic-predominant than other areas. Among supermarket-free places, new supermarkets were less likely to be introduced into black-predominant than white-predominant areas (odds ratio (OR) = 0.52, 95% CI = 0.30-0.92). However, among areas without the following type of store at baseline, supermarket (OR = 0.48 (0.33-0.70)), small-size grocery stores (OR = 1.32 (1.08-1.62)), and fresh/specialty food markets (OR = 0.70 (0.53-0.92)) were less likely to be introduced into areas of low foreign-born population than into areas of high foreign-born population. Higher poverty rate was associated with a greater decrease in supermarket, a less decrease in small-size grocery stores, and a less increase in carry-out restaurants (all p for trends <0.001). Urban areas experienced more increases in full-service and carry-out restaurants than suburban areas. Local area characteristics affect 1-year changes in food environment in the U.S. Hispanic population was associated with more food stores/services capable of supplying fresh food items. Black-predominant and poverty-afflicted areas had a greater decrease in supermarkets. Full-service and carry-out restaurants increased more in urban than suburban areas. Foreign-born population density was associated with introduction of grocery stores and fresh/specialty food markets into the areas.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2014 · BMC Public Health
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    • "Uncertainty about the validity of such data sources raises the issue of potential and possibly systematic errors of measurement [4,5]. Recently, work has been conducted to validate commercial [6-9], Internet-derived [7,10] or government [8,10-12] databases, mainly in the US, the UK and Canada. Based on the match between database and field observation in “business name”, “category” or “location”, validity has traditionally been assessed using measures of sensitivity and positive predictive value (PPV), based on true positives (TPs), false positives (FPs) and false negatives (FNs). "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Validation studies of secondary datasets used to characterize neighborhood food businesses generally evaluate how accurately the database represents the true situation on the ground. Depending on the research objectives, the characterization of the business environment may tolerate some inaccuracies (e.g. minor imprecisions in location or errors in business names). Furthermore, if the number of false negatives (FNs) and false positives (FPs) is balanced within a given area, one could argue that the database still provides a “fair” representation of existing resources in this area. Yet, traditional validation measures do not relax matching criteria, and treat FNs and FPs independently. Through the field validation of food businesses found in a Canadian database, this paper proposes alternative criteria for validity. Methods Field validation of the 2010 Enhanced Points of Interest (EPOI) database (DMTI Spatial®) was performed in 2011 in 12 census tracts (CTs) in Montreal, Canada. Some 410 food outlets were extracted from the database and 484 were observed in the field. First, traditional measures of sensitivity and positive predictive value (PPV) accounting for every single mismatch between the field and the database were computed. Second, relaxed measures of sensitivity and PPV that tolerate mismatches in business names or slight imprecisions in location were assessed. A novel measure of representativity that further allows for compensation between FNs and FPs within the same business category and area was proposed. Representativity was computed at CT level as ((TPs +|FPs-FNs|)/(TPs+FNs)), with TPs meaning true positives, and |FPs-FNs| being the absolute value of the difference between the number of FNs and the number of FPs within each outlet category. Results The EPOI database had a "moderate" capacity to detect an outlet present in the field (sensitivity: 54.5%) or to list only the outlets that actually existed in the field (PPV: 64.4%). Relaxed measures of sensitivity and PPV were respectively 65.5% and 77.3%. The representativity of the EPOI database was 77.7%. Conclusions The novel measure of representativity might serve as an alternative to traditional validity measures, and could be more appropriate in certain situations, depending on the nature and scale of the research question.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2013 · International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity
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