248263 Obesity trends and the neighborhood environment in low-income preschool-aged children in Los Angeles County

Wednesday, November 2, 2011: 10:50 AM

M. Pia Chaparro, MS , Department of Community Health Sciences, UCLA School of Public Health, Los Angeles, CA
Shannon E. Whaley, PhD , Special Projects Division, PHFE-WIC, Irwindale, CA
Catherine Crespi, PhD , Department of Biostatistics, UCLA School of Public Health, Los Angeles, CA
Maria Koleilat, DrPH , PHFE-WIC Program, Irwindale, CA
Vivian Alfonso, BS , Department of Epidemiology, UCLA School of Public Health, Los Angeles, CA
Tabashir Sadegh-Nobari, MPH , Department of Community Health Sciences, UCLA School of Public Health, Los Angeles, CA
May-Choo Wang, DrPH, RD , Department of Community Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
While it is increasingly recognized that the neighborhood food environment may influence accessibility to healthy foods and hence obesity risk, there is a dearth of research on the contributions of neighborhoods to obesity development in early childhood. Preventive approaches in early childhood may be the most effective strategy for addressing the obesity crisis. The objectives of this paper are:1) to examine and map changes in obesity prevalence at the census tract level among low-income preschool-aged WIC Program participants in Los Angeles County between 2003 and 2009; and 2) to determine if these changes are correlated with changes in the neighborhood environment over the same period. Relevant child-level data were obtained from the California Integrated Statewide Information System. Census tract-level data describing social and food availability characteristics of neighborhoods were obtained from the census and the Los Angeles County Public Health Department. Obesity rates for all children increased from 16.2% in 2003 to 19.7% in 2009.From 2003-2009, obesity rates increased more quickly for children living in the poorest neighborhoods (by 27% from 16.9% to 21.4%) than for children living in the least poor neighborhoods (by 17% from 15.5% to 18.2%). Preliminary multiple regression analysis indicate that median neighborhood income was negatively associated (p<.001) and change in the density of small independent grocery stores was positively associated (p<.05) with change in obesity prevalence, after controlling for baseline values. Future analyses will examine the contributions of fast food restaurants and WIC-authorized stores to obesity rates in this low income preschool-aged population.

Learning Areas:
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the changes in the obesity rates and neighborhood food environments of preschool-aged WIC participants in LA County between 2003 and 2009. 2. Explain the mechanisms by which neighborhood environments may influence obesity development.

Keywords: Obesity, Food and Nutrition

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have experience with the research topic and I have conducted the analysis for the proposed study. I have an MS in Nutritional Sciences and a BS in Food Science and Engineering. My man research interest is the association between obesity and Food Assistance and Program participation, particularly in Latin America.
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.