248831 Food environment data sources in Berkeley, California - A spatial analysis of four data sources

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 1:30 PM

Jenna Hua, MPH, RD , School of Public Health, Environmental Health Sciences, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
May-Choo Wang, DrPH, RD , Department of Community Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Gilbert C. Gee, PhD , School of Public Health, Community Health Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Robert Mare, PhD , Department of Sociology, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Catherine Crespi, PhD , Department of Biostatistics, UCLA School of Public Health, Los Angeles, CA
Edmund Y. W. Seto, PhD , School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
INTRODUCTION: Certain restaurant densities are used as proxies for exposure to healthy or unhealthy foods. While different datasets have been used to quantify restaurant density, the differences between these datasets have not been systematically examined. We compared four sources of "restaurant" listings in Berkeley, California, assessing their correlation, and the variability in their associations with local aspects of the social environment as quantified by census data.

METHODS: Current restaurants from the Yellow Pages (YP), Yelp, Dun & Bradstreet (D&B), and parcel data were geocoded to the 63 census tracts in Berkeley, California. For each data source, restaurant density (number per square mile) was calculated for each tract. Census data on population density, age, proportion of minority, and worker density were also assigned to tracts. Linear regression was used to investigate the associations between restaurant density estimated from different sources and census data.

RESULTS: We found large variations by data source in the total number of restaurants, with 423 identified from Yelp, 478 from YP, 696 from D&B, and 56 from parcel. Despite these differences, all four sources were correlated (Pearsons correlation >0.68 between restaurant densities). Consistent associations were found between restaurant densities and social factors for the different data sources.

DISCUSSION: The four databases varied in the number of restaurants identified, likely representing different sources of bias. Despite estimates being correlated, researchers should be clear about the databases used and their biases when quantifying measures like restaurant density. Without a "gold standard" database, studies may benefit from sensitivity analyses.

Learning Areas:
Biostatistics, economics
Environmental health sciences
Public health or related education
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Identify the differences between sources of food environment data, the correlation between these sources, and the variability between these sources in their relationships with social indicators.

Keywords: Food and Nutrition, Environment

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the primary researcher for data collection, analysis and writing.
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.