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Childhood Obesity and Neighborhood Food-Store Availability in an Inner-City Community

  • Maida P. Galvez
    Correspondence
    Address correspondence to Maida P. Galvez, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor, Department of Community and Preventive Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, 1 Gustave L. Levy Place Box 1512, New York, New York.
    Affiliations
    Department of Community and Preventive Medicine (Dr Galvez, Hong, Ms Liao, Dr Godbold, Dr Brenner) and Department of Pediatrics (Dr Galvez), Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY (Ms Hong); and Boston College, Chestnut Hill, Mass (Ms Choi)
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  • Lu Hong
    Affiliations
    Department of Community and Preventive Medicine (Dr Galvez, Hong, Ms Liao, Dr Godbold, Dr Brenner) and Department of Pediatrics (Dr Galvez), Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY (Ms Hong); and Boston College, Chestnut Hill, Mass (Ms Choi)
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  • Elizabeth Choi
    Affiliations
    Department of Community and Preventive Medicine (Dr Galvez, Hong, Ms Liao, Dr Godbold, Dr Brenner) and Department of Pediatrics (Dr Galvez), Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY (Ms Hong); and Boston College, Chestnut Hill, Mass (Ms Choi)
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  • Laura Liao
    Affiliations
    Department of Community and Preventive Medicine (Dr Galvez, Hong, Ms Liao, Dr Godbold, Dr Brenner) and Department of Pediatrics (Dr Galvez), Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY (Ms Hong); and Boston College, Chestnut Hill, Mass (Ms Choi)
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  • James Godbold
    Affiliations
    Department of Community and Preventive Medicine (Dr Galvez, Hong, Ms Liao, Dr Godbold, Dr Brenner) and Department of Pediatrics (Dr Galvez), Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY (Ms Hong); and Boston College, Chestnut Hill, Mass (Ms Choi)
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  • Barbara Brenner
    Affiliations
    Department of Community and Preventive Medicine (Dr Galvez, Hong, Ms Liao, Dr Godbold, Dr Brenner) and Department of Pediatrics (Dr Galvez), Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY (Ms Hong); and Boston College, Chestnut Hill, Mass (Ms Choi)
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      Objective

      Prior studies have shown an association between fast-food restaurants and adolescent body size. Less is known about the influence of neighborhood food stores on a child's body size. We hypothesized that in the inner-city, minority community of East Harlem, New York, the presence of convenience stores and fast-food restaurants near a child's home is associated with increased risk for childhood obesity as measured by body mass index (BMI).

      Design

      Baseline data of 6- to 8-year-old East Harlem boys and girls (N=323) were used. Anthropometry (height and weight) was conducted with a standardized protocol. Food-store data were collected via a walking survey. Stores located within the same census block as the child's home address were identified by using ArcGIS 8.3. We computed age- and sex-specific BMI percentiles by using national norms of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Using odds ratios, we estimated risk of a child's BMI percentile being in the top tertile based on number and types of food stores on their census blocks.

      Results

      Convenience stores were present in 55% of the surveyed blocks in which a study particpant lived and fast-food restaurants were present in 41%. Children (n=177) living on a block with 1 or more convenience stores (range, 1–6) were more likely to have a BMI percentile in the top tertile (odds ratio 1.90, 95% confidence interval, 1.15–3.15) compared with children having no convenience stores (n=146).

      Conclusions

      The presence of convenience stores near a child's residence was associated with a higher BMI percentile. This has potential implications for both child- and neighborhood-level childhood obesity interventions.

      Key Words

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