Food availability en route to school and anthropometric change in urban children

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18 Scopus citations


This study examined food availability along children's paths to and from elementary school, and associations with change in body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference over 1 year. Secondary data from 319 children aged 8-13 years from the "Multiple Opportunities to Reach Excellence" Project was used. Child anthropometry and demographic variables were obtained at baseline (2007) and 1 year follow-up. Food outlet locations (n = 1,410) were obtained from the Baltimore City Health Department and validated by ground-truthing. Secondary data on healthy food availability within select food stores in Baltimore City in 2007 were obtained via a validated food environment assessment measure, the Nutrition Environments Measures Study. Multilevel models were used to examine associations between availability of healthy food and number of various food outlets along paths to school and child anthropometric change over 1 year. Controlling for individual-, neighborhood-, and school-level characteristics, results indicated that higher healthy food availability within a 100 m buffer of paths to school was associated with 0.15 kg/m2 lower BMI gain (p = 0.015) and 0.47 cm smaller waist circumference gain (p = 0.037) over 1 year. Although prior research has illuminated the importance of healthy food choices within school and home environments, the current study suggests that exposure to the food environment along paths to school should be further explored in relation to child health outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)653-666
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Urban Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2013


  • Abdominal
  • Adiposity
  • Anthropometry
  • Body weight changes
  • Food environment
  • Healthy food
  • Obesity
  • Overweight
  • Weight
  • Youth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Urban Studies
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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