Online Program

Lifting the weight off the future: Associations between food environment around schools and professionally measured weight status of k-12 students

Monday, November 4, 2013

Xuyang Tang, School of Sustainability, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ
Joshua Abbott, PhD, School of Sustainability, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ
Rimjhim Aggarwal, PhD, School of Sustainability, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ
Punam Ohri-Vachaspati, PhD, RD, School of Nutrition and Health Promotion, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ
Introduction Recent studies show that food environment around schools associates with obesity rates among students. Most existing studies use self-reported weights and heights measures or relatively small samples which often yield potentially questionable results. We examine the association between obesity among public school students and the food environment surrounding their schools using professionally-measured student-level data.

Methods De-identified data were obtained for over 30000 k-12th grade students in 88 public schools located in four New Jersey cities. School-level information was obtained from the National Center for Education Statistics. Food outlets locations (supermarkets, convenience stores, small grocery stores, and limited service restaurants) obtained from commercial sources were geocoded to develop proximity measures. This study assesses associations between students' BMI and proximity to food outlets using multivariate analysis controlling for student- and school-level factors. Data analysis is underway.

Results 44% of the students were overweight or obese. 20.5% attended high schools, 15.1% middle, and 52.1% elementary schools. On average, students had 2.6 convenience stores, 2.9 limited service restaurants, and 0.1 supermarkets within a quarter mile of a school. Multivariate analysis will assess the association between food outlet types around schools and school- and student-level factors and explores types of outlets that are associated with obesity among students.

Discussion This study uses professionally-measured heights and weights for a large sample of students across the full school-age spectrum. It includes a comprehensive set of proximity measures for different types of food outlets. The study's result may provide evidence for changing food environment around schools.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Identify factors in the food environment surrounding schools that are associated with school characteristics. Describe how different types of food outlet around schools and their proximity may be associated with higher rates of obesity among students

Keyword(s): Obesity, Food and Nutrition

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been working with professors in the field of Nutrition and Economics to analyze relationships between food environment around schools and childhood obesity rates.
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.

Back to: 3189.0: Nutrition and Children