Obesity and the Food Environment Among Minority Groups

Angela M. Odoms-Young, Shannon N. Zenk, Allison Karpyn, Guadalupe Xochitl Ayala, Joel Gittelsohn

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The prevalence of obesity is higher in racial/ethnic minority populations compared to non-Hispanic whites. Recently, a substantial body of literature has focused on understanding the role of the retail food environment in shaping racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic disparities in obesity risk. Compared to predominately white neighborhoods, retail food environments in minority neighborhoods have been found to be more "obesigenic" and offer fewer opportunities for healthy eating. Studies generally show that predominately African American and Native American neighborhoods have fewer chain supermarkets; more liquor/convenience stores; lower availability of healthy food options and lower-quality fresh produce than predominately white neighborhoods. However, results from studies examining food environments in Hispanic/Latino neighborhoods have been mixed. While several studies report an association between retail food environments, dietary intake, and obesity risk in children and adults, findings vary depending on the aspect of the food environment being studied, measures being used, target population considered, and geographic area where the study was conducted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-151
Number of pages11
JournalCurrent obesity reports
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2012


  • Food environment
  • Minority groups
  • Obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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