The impact of time use on dietary behaviours: preliminary results from the FASTT Study

Authors: Michael Widener*, University of Toronto
Topics: Medical and Health Geography, Transportation Geography, Temporal GIS
Keywords: food, transportation, time use, time geography, health geography
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/3/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Congressional B, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The lack of access to food, and in many cases a nutritious diet, is driven by a wide range of complex spatial, economic, political, and social factors, and is suggested to profoundly impact a variety of social outcomes, like education, social skills in children, and health. However, approaches to understanding this issue often neglect to consider the impact of time use and activity spaces, and their related drivers like transportation availability and costs. By not incorporating the interrelationships between time use, individual-level activity spaces, and transportation contexts, these studies are limited by conceiving of the food shopping process as either aspatial or through an overreliance on a relatively simple framework that often emphasizes spatial access to food retailers around a person’s home.

This talk will review preliminary results from the Food Activities, Socioeconomics, Time-use, and Transportation (FASTT) Study, which took place in Fall 2018. Time-use diary, GPS, and meal data were collected on approximately 300 adults in lower-middle income households with children, across three neighbourhoods with different transportation and food retail environments in the City of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Special attention will be paid to the role of activity patterns, access to different types of transportation infrastructure, and child care opportunities across the three neighbourhoods, and how these factors influenced food purchasing behaviours.

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