The Local Food Environment and Obesity: Evidence from Three Cities

Blake Byron Walker, Aateka Shashank, Danijela Gasevic, Nadine Schuurman, Paul Poirier, Koon Teo, Sumathy Rangarajan, Salim Yusuf, Scott A. Lear

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: This study aimed to identify the association between the food environment and obesity. Methods: BMI and waist circumference (WC) were measured in 8,076 participants from three cities. The number of fast-food restaurants, full-service restaurants, bars/pubs, markets, and liquor stores within 500 m of each participant was documented. The association between the food environment (ratio of fast-food to full-service restaurants, ratio of bars/pubs to liquor stores, and presence of markets) with obesity (BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2) and abdominal obesity (WC ≥ 102 cm for males or WC ≥ 88 cm for females) was investigated, adjusted for age, sex, education level, neighborhood deprivation, neighborhood type, and total hours per week of walking and taking into account city-level clustering. Results: The ratios of fast-food to full-service restaurants and of bars/pubs to liquor stores were positively associated with obesity (OR = 1.05 [CI: 1.02-1.09] and OR = 1.08 [CI: 1.04-1.13], respectively). The ratio of bars/pubs to liquor stores was positively associated with abdominal obesity (OR = 1.10 [CI: 1.05-1.14]). There was no association between markets and either obesity or abdominal obesity. Conclusions: Features of the food environment have varying associations with obesity. These features have an additive effect, and future studies should not focus on only one feature in isolation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-45
Number of pages6
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020

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