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Am J Health Promot. 2008 Jul-Aug;22(6):426-32. doi: 10.4278/ajhp.22.6.426.

Exploring obesogenic food environments in Edmonton, Canada: the association between socioeconomic factors and fast-food outlet access.

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1
Centre for Health Promotion Studies, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

To explore the relationship between the placement of fast-food outlets and neighborhood-level socioeconomic variables by determining if indicators of lower socioeconomic status were predictive of exposure to fast food.

DESIGN:

A descriptive analysis of the fast-food environment in a Canadian urban center, using secondary analysis of census data and Geographic Information Systems technology.

SETTING:

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

MEASURES:

Neighborhoods were classified as High, Medium, or Low Access based on the number of fast-food opportunities available to them. Neighborhood-level socioeconomic data (income, education, employment, immigration status, and housing tenure) from the 2001 Statistics Canada federal census were obtained.

ANALYSIS:

A discriminant function analysis was used to determine if any association existed between neighborhood demographic characteristics and accessibility of fast-food outlets.

RESULTS:

Significant differences were found between the three levels of fast-food accessibility across the socioeconomic variables, with successively greater percentages of unemployment, low income, and renters in neighborhoods with increasingly greater access to fast-food restaurants. A high score on several of these variables was predictive of greater access to fast-food restaurants.

CONCLUSION:

Although a causal inference is not possible, these results suggest that the distribution of fast-food outlets relative to neighborhood-level socioeconomic status requires further attention in the process of explaining the increased rates of obesity observed in relatively deprived populations.

PMID:
18677883
DOI:
10.4278/ajhp.22.6.426
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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