235532 Retail food opportunities around schools: A sea of choices that lead to obesity?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 12:30 PM

Alyssa Ghirardelli, MPH, RD , California Department of Public Health/Public Health Institute, Network for a Healthy California, Sacramento, CA
Mathew Stone, MPH , California Department of Public Health, Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Sacramento, CA
Valerie Quinn, MEd , California Department of Public Health, Network for a Healthy California, Sacramento, CA
Sharon Sugerman, MS, RD , Research & Evaluation Unit, Network for a Healthy California, California Department of Public Health, Sacramento, CA
Mee Vang, BA , California Department of Public Health, University of California, San Francisco, Sacramento, CA
Current research has examined the relationship of fast food and corner stores to childhood obesity, snacking and unhealthy eating behaviors. Yet, it is not clear if a relationship exists between a multitude of food retail exposures around the school and obesity or if a particular mix of retail types is highly associated with obesity. A food retail mix exposure scale is under development to designate schools at higher need. Analysis was conducted using a combination of Geographic Information Systems (GIS), REST-based map services and application programming interfaces to study all public schools in California in relationship to businesses from a retail database. A sample of 11,035 schools were included and 1,362 (12%) had no retail food within a mile radius. There were 9,673 schools with retail food opportunities within mile and of this group, 53% were elementary schools, 12% were high schools, 12% middle schools, and others such as continuation schools made up 22%. Preliminary results show an average of 20 types of food establishments within a mile, with high schools nearly always having the highest mean for any retail type. High schools had a mean of 2 convenience stores, 5 fast food, 4 grocery stores, 12 restaurants, 2 ice cream or similar establishments, and 5 specialty shops such as cafe, bakery or deli. Additional analysis is underway to examine relationships using data for schools participating in free and reduced price lunch and using FITNESSGRAM measures for body composition from the California Department of Education.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the Network for a Healthy California CX3 food retail mix exposure scale. 2. Discuss GIS findings of retail food availability within a mile of schools. 3. Recognize the need for education and advocacy to improve retail food environments around schools.

Keywords: Food and Nutrition, Geographic Information Systems

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am lead researcher for a project examining low-income food environments to inform program planning, nutrition education and community engagement. I have trained health department staff in many parts of CA to use tools and methods including GIS for collecting data in neighborhoods. I conduct research on the food environment.
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.