263680 Chatarra (junk food) and three urban Mexican foodscapes : Distinct neighborhood food environments and eating patterns in an upper-, middle-, and lower-income colonia in the Mazatlan metropolitan area

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Susan Bridle-Fitzpatrick, PhD Cand , Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver, Denver, CO
Background: Mexico ranks highest globally in incidence of childhood obesity and consumption of soft drinks. Environmental factors including the relative availability and prices of calorically dense foods and beverages compared to healthier options may influence eating habits. Purpose: In Mexican cities, colonias of different socioeconomic status (SES) often have distinct neighborhood food environments. This study examines how differences in access to various food options combined with SES differences influence consumption behaviors of adolescents and parents in 3 communities in Mazatlan. Methods: All of the sources of food and drink within a 1-km radius of 3 middle schools (of varying SES) were categorized and mapped. An in-depth analysis of food and drink options, prices, and marketing in a selection of each type of outlet was conducted. Repeated interviews with students and parents examined behaviors regarding food consumption and purchasing. Conclusions/Discussion: The lowest-income community had a much higher density of outlets for high-calorie snacks and drinks. The middle- and upper-income communities had a lower density of outlets for these items and more (and often cheaper) options for fresh produce and a higher density of restaurants. Overweight is a problem in all 3 communities, but eating behaviors differ. Middle- and upper-income families eat more fruit, but also more fast food. Poorer families eat little fresh produce, more packaged snacks, and an overabundance of the cheapest food options. These findings suggest that relative access to different food options, together with differences in education and income, call for locally-tailored obesity prevention strategies.

Learning Areas:
Chronic disease management and prevention
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Analyze community differences in access to (and density of) different kinds of food and drink options. Identify physical, social and economic factors that influence the food and drink purchases of teenagers and parents. Assess behaviors regarding food and drink consumption among teenagers and parents with respect to risk for overweight and obesity. Discuss nutrition intake and the implications of the built (food) environment on obesity prevention policies. Identify opportunities and challenges for targeted interventions to improve eating behaviors in distinct communities.

Keywords: Food and Nutrition, Social Inequalities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the principal investigator responsible for this research, which has the support of multiple institutions of the Mexican federal government and Mazatlan local government.
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.