Understanding the relationship between food environments and childhood obesity: An exploratory spatial analysis in Arkansas

Authors: Ling Zhang*, University of Central Arkansas
Topics: Medical and Health Geography, Applied Geography, Food Systems
Keywords: childhood obesity, food environment, spatial analysis, Arkansas
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/10/2021
Start / End Time: 1:30 PM / 2:45 PM
Room: Virtual 8
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Childhood obesity has become a public health issue in the United States as it is associated with serious health problems and may persist into adulthood and have a lifetime effect. Understanding the relationship between food environments and childhood obesity is of vital importance for developing effective intervention strategies. In this study, we aim to explore the spatial patterns of this relationship at school level. Childhood obesity data were obtained from the 2017-218 Assessment of Childhood and Adolescent Obesity in Arkansas published by the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement (ACHI). Based on 2007 Dun & Bradstreet data, three types of food outlets: fast-food outlets, other unhealthy outlets and mixed food outlets, are identified with 1 mile around schools. Our results suggest that exposure to unhealthy food outlets can affect weight outcomes of children, especially the number of fast-food outlets which can significantly impact childhood obesity at school level.

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