178816 Local food environment associated with diet and obesity among California adults

Monday, October 27, 2008: 9:15 AM

Susan H. Babey, PhD , UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA
Theresa A. Hastert, MPP , University of Washington, Los Angeles, CA
Allison L. Diamant, MD, MSHS , School of Medicine, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA
Harold Goldstein, DrPH , California Center for Public Health Advocacy, Davis, CA
Stefan Harvey, BA , Public Health Advocacy, CA
Rajni Banthia, PhD , The PolicyLink Center for Health and Place, PolicyLink, Oakland, CA
Rebecca Flournoy, MPH , The PolicyLink Center for Health and Place, PolicyLink, Oakland, CA
Victor Rubin, PhD , The PolicyLink Center for Health and Place, PolicyLink, Oakland, CA
E. Richard Brown, PhD , UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Increasingly, research is associating the retail food environment with dietary behaviors and health outcomes. Using data from the 2005 California Health Interview Survey (CHIS), a random-digit dial (RDD) telephone survey of California households, an InfoUSA business database and the US Census, we examined the association of the food environment with obesity and fruit and vegetable consumption among adults. The food environment was characterized in terms of the availability of fast food restaurants and convenience stores relative to grocery stores and produce markets. Specifically, we used a ratio of fast food outlets and convenience stores to grocery stores and produce markets within buffers around individual CHIS respondents' home addresses called the retail food environment index (RFEI). A higher RFEI represents greater availability of fast food and convenience stores relative to grocery stores and produce markets, arguably a worse food environment. Adults with lower RFEIs (<3) had a lower prevalence of obesity (20%) than adults with RFEIs between 3 and 5 (23%) or of 5+ (24%; p<0.05). Likewise, the percentage eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day (42%) was higher among those with a lower RFEI (<3) than among adults with RFEIs between 3 and 5 (38%) or of 5+ (37%; p<0.001). Regression analyses showed that these associations remain significant after adjusting for individual income, race/ethnicity, age and neighborhood poverty. The food environment also varies with individual and neighborhood sociodemographic factors. Improving the retail food environment could help improve dietary behaviors and weight status of California adults.

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the relationship between the food environment and adult obesity Describe differences in dietary behaviors of California adults living in different types of food environments Identify sociodemographic characteristics associated with different types of food environments

Keywords: Obesity, Food and Nutrition

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a research scientist at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and an Assistant Researcher in the Department of Health Services, UCLA School of Public Health. I am the project director for the research being presented and have overseen all aspects of the research and analysis.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.