Nav: Home

Food access near schools and homes illuminated for children in New York city

June 12, 2019

A study of nearly 800,000 schoolchildren in New York City shows that Black, Hispanic, and Asian students live and go to school closer to both healthy and unhealthy food outlets than do White students. Brian Elbel of the New York University School of Medicine and colleagues present these findings in the open-access journal PLOS ONE.

Childhood obesity is a major health issue in the U.S. Income and race/ethnicity are key factors associated with obesity, and disparities in obesity among children could be driven by disparities in food access between neighborhoods. Previous research has examined food access by income and race/ethnicity, but many of these studies have had significant limitations, such as relying on imprecise data to define food access or focusing on only one type of food outlet.

Elbel and colleagues have now conducted the first food-access study to incorporate precise home and school address data for each student. The researchers used NYC Department of Education data for 789,520 New York City kindergarteners through 12th graders to calculate the distance to each student's closest food outlet and the number of outlets within 0.25 miles.

The scientists hypothesized that low-income or minority students would have greater access to unhealthy food outlets, such as fast-food restaurants and corner stores, and less access to healthier outlets like wait-service restaurants and supermarkets. However, they found that Black, Hispanic, and Asian students lived and went to school closer to all four types of food outlets than did White students, regardless of poverty status.

The authors acknowledge some limitations of their study, such as a lack of data to determine just how healthy a particular food outlet might be. Still, they provide a detailed picture of food access that could improve understanding of disparities and inform efforts to address childhood obesity. Further research is needed to understand the causes of food-access disparities and their association with health outcomes, in New York City and other regions.
-end-
Citation: Elbel B, Tamura K, McDermott ZT, Duncan DT, Athens JK, Wu E, et al. (2019) Disparities in food access around homes and schools for New York City children. PLoS ONE 14(6): e0217341. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0217341

Funding: This study was funded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases of the National Institutes of Health (https://www.niddk.nih.gov; R01DK097347; PI: B.E.). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

In your coverage please use this URL to provide access to the freely available article in PLOS ONE: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0217341

PLOS

Related Obesity Articles:

Should obesity be recognized as a disease?
With obesity now affecting almost a third (29%) of the population in England, and expected to rise to 35% by 2030, should we now recognize it as a disease?
Is obesity associated with risk of pediatric MS?
A single-center study of 453 children in Germany with multiple sclerosis (MS) investigated the association of obesity with pediatric MS risk and with the response of first-line therapy in children with MS.
Women with obesity prior to conception are more likely to have children with obesity
A systematic review and meta-analysis identified significantly increased odds of child obesity when mothers have obesity before conception, according to a study published June 11, 2019 in the open-access journal PLOS Medicine by Nicola Heslehurst of Newcastle University in the UK, and colleagues.
Obesity medicine association announces major updates to its adult obesity algorithm
The Obesity Medicine Association (OMA) announced the immediate availability of the 2019 OMA Adult Obesity Algorithm, with new information for clinicians including the relationship between Obesity and Cardiovascular Disease, Diabetes Mellitus, Dyslipidemia, and Cancer; information on investigational Anti-Obesity Pharmacotherapy; treatments for Lipodystrophy; and Pharmacokinetics and Obesity.
Systematic review shows risk of a child developing overweight or obesity is more than trebled by maternal obesity prior to pregnancy
New research presented at this year's European Congress on Obesity (ECO) in Glasgow, Scotland (April 28- May 1) reveals that the risk of a child becoming overweight or obese is more than trebled by maternal obesity prior to getting pregnant.
More Obesity News and Obesity Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Rethinking Anger
Anger is universal and complex: it can be quiet, festering, justified, vengeful, and destructive. This hour, TED speakers explore the many sides of anger, why we need it, and who's allowed to feel it. Guests include psychologists Ryan Martin and Russell Kolts, writer Soraya Chemaly, former talk radio host Lisa Fritsch, and business professor Dan Moshavi.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#537 Science Journalism, Hold the Hype
Everyone's seen a piece of science getting over-exaggerated in the media. Most people would be quick to blame journalists and big media for getting in wrong. In many cases, you'd be right. But there's other sources of hype in science journalism. and one of them can be found in the humble, and little-known press release. We're talking with Chris Chambers about doing science about science journalism, and where the hype creeps in. Related links: The association between exaggeration in health related science news and academic press releases: retrospective observational study Claims of causality in health news: a randomised trial This...