Food Environment and BMI in NYC

We have continued our work studying the food environment in NYC, developing measures that take a more ecosystem perspective on neighborhood food environments.  For each zip code, we measured the density of food outlets, the proportion of retail food outlets that were BMI-healthy (supermarkets, fruit and vegetable markets, natural food stores) or BMI-unhealthy (local and national fast food restaurants, pizza restaurants, convenience stores, bodegas, bakeries, candy and nut stores, meat markets) and the overall diversity of the food environment.

CHS_food_environment

These zip code level measures were then linked to data on Body Mass Index (BMI) for 48,482 respondents of the 2002–2006 Community Health Survey.  After control for individual- and neighborhood-level socio-demographic characteristics, respondent’s BMI was inversely associated with food outlet density and positively associated with the proportion of outlets that were BMI-unhealthy.  The association between BMI and the proportion of BMI-unhealthy food outlets was stronger for residents of lower-poverty zip codes than for residents of high-poverty zip codes.  The inverse association between BMI and food outlet density was similar for residents of low- and high-poverty zip codes.

All of the details for this project are available in a paper we recently published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

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