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The association between the food environment and weight status among eastern North Carolina youth

  • Stephanie B Jilcott (a1), Scott Wade (a2), Jared T McGuirt (a1), Qiang Wu (a3), Suzanne Lazorick (a1) (a4) and Justin B Moore (a1)
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1368980011000668
  • Published online: 13 April 2011
Abstract
AbstractObjective

To examine associations between various measures of the food environment and BMI percentile among youth.

Design

Cross-sectional, observational.

Setting

Pitt County, eastern North Carolina.

Subjects

We extracted the electronic medical records for youth receiving well child check-ups from January 2007 to June 2008. We obtained addresses for food venues from two secondary sources and ground-truthing. A geographic information systems database was constructed by geocoding home addresses of 744 youth and food venues. We quantified participants’ accessibility to food venues by calculating ‘coverage’, number of food venues in buffers of 0·25, 0·5, 1 and 5 miles (0·4, 0·8, 1·6 and 8·0 km) and by calculating ‘proximity’ or distance to the closest food venue. We examined associations between BMI percentile and food venue accessibility using correlation and regression analyses.

Results

There were negative associations between BMI percentile and coverage of farmers’ markets/produce markets in 0·25 and 0·5 mile Euclidean and 0·25, 0·5 and 1 mile road network buffers. There were positive associations between BMI percentile and coverage of fast-food and pizza places in the 0·25 mile Euclidean and network buffers. In multivariate analyses adjusted for race, insurance status and rural/urban residence, proximity (network distance) to convenience stores was negatively associated with BMI percentile and proximity to farmers’ markets was positively associated with BMI percentile.

Conclusions

Accessibility to various types of food venues is associated with BMI percentile in eastern North Carolina youth. Future longitudinal work should examine correlations between accessibility to and use of traditional and non-traditional food venues.

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*Corresponding author: Email jilcotts@ecu.edu
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Public Health Nutrition
  • ISSN: 1368-9800
  • EISSN: 1475-2727
  • URL: /core/journals/public-health-nutrition
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