Navigation Links
Exploratory study: High BMI linked to proximity to convenience stores

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Researchers at the University at Buffalo conducting a neighborhood-scaled exploratory study that tested the association between the food environment, the built environment and women's body mass index (BMI) have found that women with homes closer to a supermarket, relative to a convenience store, had lower BMIs, and that the greater the number of restaurants within a five minute walk of a woman's home, the higher her BMI.

The study, "Food Environment, Built Environment and Women's BMI: Evidence from Erie County, New York," involved 172 participants and was published in the April issue of the Journal of Planning Education and Research. It was led by Samina Raja, PhD, UB professor of urban and regional planning.

The study team comprised several UB researchers: Li Yin, PhD, assistant professor of urban and regional planning; James Roemmich, PhD, associate professor of pediatrics; Leonard Epstein, PhD, professor of pediatrics; Changxing Ma, PhD, assistant professor of biostatistics; and graduate students Pavan Yadav and Alex Brian Ticoalu.

"In particular, three findings are significant," says Raja.

"First, a greater number of restaurants within a five-minute walk of a subject's house was associated with a greater BMI, holding other factors constant," she says.

"Second," she says, "on average, women who live within relative proximity to supermarkets and grocery stores (as opposed to convenience stores) tend to have lower BMIs.

"Third, and perhaps most important," Raja says, "the interaction of the food environment and the built environment in a neighborhood carries significant consequences for obesity. For example, a diverse land-use mix, while beneficial for promoting physical activity, is tied to a net increase in BMI when that land is dominated by restaurants."

She says future research on the built environment and health must take into account the role of the food environment on women's health, and the study offers suggestions for how food environments may be improved using planning strategies.

Raja is a nationally regarded community-based scholar in the fields of food security planning and community health whose work supports and is supported by UB's Civic Engagement and Public Policy research initiative.

She points out that more than one-third of U.S. adults were reported to be obese in 2006, with the prevalence of obesity slightly greater among women than men.

"The prevalence of obesity is a significant public health concern because it places indi-viduals at a risk for a variety of diseases," she says, "and the role of environmental factors in contributing to obesity has received a lot of attention. We have attempted here to explain the paradox of high BMI rates among women living in highly walkable inner city neighborhoods.

Raja says the study has several limitations, among them, the fact that the researchers did not know where their subjects shopped for food, only what outlets were closest geographically. The also were not able to classify restaurants based on their quality -- fast-food and sit-down restaurants were treated as a single category, even though they know that quality varies widely across different types of restaurants.

"The study raises several questions to be addressed in future research," she says, "and suggests that innovative research designs will be necessary to develop greater evidence of causality -- perhaps longitudinal studies that look at how moving one's residence (thus changing exposure to a particular food, food type or built environment) affects physical activity, eating behavior and health outcomes."

The study identifies planning strategies and tools available to improve community food and built environments to support healthy eating behavior.

"Comprehensive plans, regulatory mechanisms and financial incentives can be used individually or in concert to improve food environments," the study says, and cites recent efforts in Madison and Dane County, Wis.; Marin County, Calif.; Harrison County, Miss.; special regulations adopted in New York City that offer zoning incentives (e.g. allowing denser development and reduction in parking requirements) for development projects that dedicate a greater store floor area to fresh foods in underserved neighborhoods; and Pennsylvania's Fresh Food Financing Initiative


Contact: Patricia Donovan
University at Buffalo

Related biology news :

1. Study: diabetic neuropathy costs billions per year in lost work time
2. Study: Fountain of youth for your heart?
3. First-ever study: lack of critical lubricant causes wear in joints
4. Mayo Clinic study: Ossurs collars superior in immobilization and reduction of pressure
5. Study: weight-loss tips differ in African-American, mainstream magazines
6. Smithsonian study: Sediment prediction tools off the mark
7. Mouse study: When it comes to living longer, its better to go hungry than go running
8. Geisinger study: Inflammatory disease causes blindness
9. Stanford study: Bioenergy potential of reviving abandoned agricultural land
10. U-M study: Herceptin targets breast cancer stem cells
11. Study: Future snowmelt in West twice as early as expected; threatens ecosystems and water reserves
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/29/2015)... 2015 NXTD ) ("NXT-ID" ... on the growing mobile commerce market and creator ... a leading marketplace to discover and buy innovative ... wallet on StackSocial for this holiday season.   ... "Company"), a biometric authentication company focused on the ...
(Date:10/27/2015)... 2015 Synaptics Inc. (NASDAQ: SYNA ), the ... has adopted the Synaptics ® ClearPad ® ... its newest flagship smartphones, the Nexus 5X by LG ... --> --> Synaptics works closely ... collaboration in the joint development of next generation technologies. ...
(Date:10/23/2015)... 23, 2015 Research and Markets ( ... Voice Recognition Biometrics Market 2015-2019" report to their ... The global voice recognition biometrics market to grow ... --> --> The report, ... based on an in-depth market analysis with inputs from ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/27/2015)... , November 27, 2015 ... Growing popularity of companion diagnostics is ... cancer biomarkers market with pharmaceutical companies and ... companion diagnostic tests. . ... Complete report on global cancer biomarkers ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... 2015 --> ... - 2020 report analyzes that automating biobanking workflow ... in long-term samples, minimizing manual errors, improving the ... manual errors such as mislabeling or inaccurate sample ... plays a vital role in blood fractionation, DNA ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... , November 25, 2015 ... cat and human plaque and pave the way for more ... problems in cats     --> ... most commonly diagnosed health problems in cats, yet relatively little ... now. Two collaborative studies have been conducted by researchers from ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... , Nov. 25, 2015 /PRNewswire/ - Aeterna Zentaris ... that its business and prospects remain fundamentally strong ... Zoptrex™ (zoptarelin doxorubicin) recently received DSMB recommendation to ... completion following review of the final interim efficacy ... 2 Primary Endpoint in men with heavily pretreated ...
Breaking Biology Technology: