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Open AccessArticle

Defining Neighbourhoods as a Measure of Exposure to the Food Environment

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Department of Development and Planning, Aalborg University, Copenhagen, A.C. Meyers Vænge 15, 2450 Copenhagen, Denmark
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Department of Architecture, Design and Media technology, Aalborg University, Rendsburggade 14, 9000 Aalborg, Denmark
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LE34, Energivej 34, 2750 Ballerup, Denmark
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Department of Clinical Medicine, Aalborg University, Copenhagen, A.C. Meyers Vænge 15, 2450 Copenhagen, Denmark
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Paul B. Tchounwou
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 8504-8525; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph120708504
Received: 6 April 2015 / Revised: 7 April 2015 / Accepted: 15 July 2015 / Published: 21 July 2015
Neighbourhoods are frequently used as a measure for individuals’ exposure to the food environment. However, the definitions of neighbourhoods fluctuate and have not been applied consistently in previous studies. Neighbourhoods defined from a single fixed location fail to capture people’s complete exposure in multiple locations, but measuring behaviour using traditional methods can be challenging. This study compares the traditional methods of measuring exposure to the food environment to methods that use data from GPS tracking. For each of the 187 participants, 11 different neighbourhoods were created in which the exposure to supermarkets and fast food outlets were measured. ANOVA, Tukey’s Honestly Significant Difference (HSD) test and t-tests were performed to compare the neighbourhoods. Significant differences were found between area sizes and the exposure to supermarkets and fast food outlets for different neighbourhood types. Second, significant differences in exposure to food outlets were found between the urban and rural neighbourhoods. Neighbourhoods are clearly a diffused and blurred concept that varies in meaning depending on each person’s perception and the conducted study. Complexity and heterogeneity of human mobility no longer appear to correspond to the use of residential neighbourhoods but rather emphasise the need for methods, concepts and measures of individual activity and exposure. View Full-Text
Keywords: food environment; neighbourhood; exposure assessment; geographic information systems; Global Positioning System; activity spaces food environment; neighbourhood; exposure assessment; geographic information systems; Global Positioning System; activity spaces
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Lyseen, A.K.; Hansen, H.S.; Harder, H.; Jensen, A.S.; Mikkelsen, B.E. Defining Neighbourhoods as a Measure of Exposure to the Food Environment. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12, 8504-8525.

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