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Body mass index of low income African-Americans linked to proximity of fast food restaurants
Date:5/16/2013

ssociations with BMI: proximity and density of fast food restaurants, which were based on each participant's geocoded residential address. The study participants were also broken into two income groups; those making less than $40,000 a year and those making $40,000 or more a year.

"We found no previous research literature that considered household income when investigating whether there were associations between fast food availability and BMI," said Reitzel.

The study controlled for factors that may influence a person's BMI including gender, age, physical activity, individual household income, median neighborhood income, education, partner status, employment status and residential tenure. Sedentary behaviors, including the amount of time the participant spent watching television, were considered. Researchers also controlled for the presence of children in the home because of its known relation with physical activity rates.

Researchers examined the density of fast food restaurants within a half mile, one mile, two miles and five miles around each participant's home.

On average there were 2.5 fast food restaurants within a half mile, 4.5 within a mile, 11.4 within 2 miles and 71.3 within 5 miles of participants' homes. "We found a significant relationship between the number of fast food restaurants and BMI for within a half-mile, one-mile and two-miles of the home, but only among lower-income study participants," said Reitzel. The data showed the greater the density, the higher the BMI. There was no significant association for the five-mile area.

When examining proximity the distance in miles from each participant's home to the closest restaurant the study found that closer proximity was associated with a higher BMI. In fact, although results indicate that the relationship between a higher BMI and proximity was stronger for those of lower income, it was still significant in the group with the higher incomes. The data also s
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Contact: Katrina Burton
kburton@mdanderson.org
713-792-8034
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
Source:Eurekalert

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