Online Program

Grocery Shopping Destination Choice and Obesity: An Empirical Study of Urban Population in Bangkok, Thailand

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Tinapa Himathongkam, MPP, Center for the Study Of International Medical Policy and Practices (CSIMPP), School of Public Policy, George Mason University, Arlington, VA

This study explores the food retail landscape of Bangkok, Thailand, and the influence of the different types of grocery store outlets and individuals’ purchasing behavior on their diet quality and weight status.


This study uses secondary data from various sources for spatial analysis using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and primary data from a self-administered questionnaire for statistical analysis. The Nearest Neighbor Distance (NND) was used to evaluate the spatial pattern of modern and traditional food retail outlets. The impacts of grocery shopping behavior on diet quality and weight status were tested using Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) regressions.


The NND analysis shows significant clustering for traditional markets (p<0.0000) and for modern retailers as a whole (p<0.0000) but not when the three largest chains, Tesco Lotus (p = 0.06), Big C (p = 0.88), and Tops (p = 0.81), are looked at separately. Results from an OLS analysis (n=248) show statistical significance between frequent visits (3 or more times a week) to modern grocery outlets and an increased consumption frequency of Western snacks (p = 0.17) and of sugary drinks (p = 0.17), controlling for age, sex, income, and education. I did not find statistical significance between five obesity measures (body mass index, percent body fat, waist circumference, visceral fat, and waist-hip ratio) and shopping frequency at modern grocery retailers.


The findings from this study suggest that modern grocery retailers are influencing nutrition transition in Bangkok and that the health implications must be further investigated.

Learning Areas:

Diversity and culture
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Describe the nutrition transition process in developing countries Discuss the relationship between grocery outlets spatial pattern and food access Identify ecological factors influencing population diet quality in an urban city of an emerging economy

Keyword(s): Nutrition, Obesity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I designed the project, collected data, and performed the analyzes for the project. I have been doing research on health, and particularly obesity, policy for the past 4 years. I am familiar with the region and the context of the project.
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.