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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2012, 9(4), 1458-1471; doi:10.3390/ijerph9041458
Article

The Influence of Local Food Environments on Adolescents’ Food Purchasing Behaviors

1,* , 2
, 3
, 4
, 5
 and 5
1 University of Texas at San Antonio, Department of Health and Kinesiology, One UTSA Circle, San Antonio, TX 78249, USA 2 School of Occupational Therapy, Rm. 2547, Elborn College, University of Western Ontario, London, ON N6G 1H1, Canada 3 Department of Geography, Social Sciences Centre Room 1403, University of Western Ontario, London, ON N6A 5C2, Canada 4 Faculty of Health Sciences, Arthur & Sonia Labatt Health Sciences Building, Room 215, University of Western Ontario, London, ON N6A 5B9, Canada 5 Department of Geography and Program in Planning, University of Toronto, 100 St. George Street, Toronto, ON M5S 3G3, Canada
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 8 February 2012 / Revised: 17 February 2012 / Accepted: 17 February 2012 / Published: 16 April 2012
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Childhood Obesity: Prevention and Treatment)
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Abstract

This study examined the relationship between the neighborhood food environment and the food purchasing behaviors among adolescents. Grade 7 and 8 students (n = 810) at 21 elementary schools in London, Ontario, Canada completed a questionnaire assessing their food purchasing behaviors. Parents of participants also completed a brief questionnaire providing residential address and demographic information. A Geographic Information System (GIS) was used to assess students’ home and school neighborhood food environment and land use characteristics. Logistic regression analysis was conducted to assess the influence of the home neighborhood food environment on students’ food purchasing behaviors, while two-level Hierarchical Non-Linear Regression Models were used to examine the effects of school neighborhood food environment factors on students’ food purchasing behaviors. The study showed that approximately 65% of participants reported self-purchasing foods from fast-food outlets or convenience stores. Close proximity (i.e., less than 1 km) to the nearest fast-food outlet or convenience store in the home neighborhood increased the likelihood of food purchasing from these food establishments at least once per week by adolescents (p < 0.05). High fast-food outlet density in both home and school neighborhoods was associated with increased fast-food purchasing by adolescents (i.e., at least once per week; p < 0.05). In conclusion, macro-level regulations and policies are required to amend the health-detracting neighborhood food environment surrounding children and youth’s home and school.
Keywords: child and adolescent health; environmental health; nutrition and diet child and adolescent health; environmental health; nutrition and diet
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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He, M.; Tucker, P.; Gilliland, J.; Irwin, J.D.; Larsen, K.; Hess, P. The Influence of Local Food Environments on Adolescents’ Food Purchasing Behaviors. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2012, 9, 1458-1471.

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