Study: No magic bullet to improve diet, stem obesity epidemic
(Medical Xpress) -- Will people eat healthier foods if fresh fruits and vegetables are available in stores near their homes? Will they eat less fast food if restaurants are not in their neighborhoods?
These and other policy interventions may be useful steps toward better public health, but no single approach alone will effectively improve Americans diets or stem the obesity epidemic, concludes a study by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
In a report released July 11 in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine,nutrition researchers from UNCs Gillings School of Global Public Health found that having access to neighborhood grocery stores or larger supermarkets alone did not make a significant change in dietary habits. Living near fast food restaurants seemed to increase the amount of fast food consumed by lower income males, but findings were mixed across other groups, said Penny Gordon-Larsen, Ph.D., the studys senior author.
Our study did not examine the quality of foods offered or the purchasing patterns at fast food restaurants, supermarkets and grocery stores, Gordon-Larsen said. We only examined the availability of fast food restaurants, supermarkets and smaller grocery stores. What we can conclude, though, is that simply introducing a supermarket in a neighborhood may not be enough the new store should be accompanied with multifaceted efforts, such as promotion, education and incentives for healthier options.
According to background information in the article, the federal government has made one of its priorities reducing food deserts, areas in which healthy food is difficult to find. Such policies stem from limited evidence that food resources are related to obesity and are inequitably allocated according to neighborhood wealth, wrote the authors. Implicit in these policy initiatives is that reduced access to fast food and increased access to supermarkets will translate into improvements in diet behavior and health.
Janne Boone-Heinonen, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow at UNCs Inter-Disciplinary Obesity Center, and colleagues assessed this assumption using data from the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults study, from its baseline in 1985 until 2001. The authors evaluated fast food consumption, diet quality and adherence to fruit-and-vegetable-consumption guidelines as a function of fast food chain, supermarket or grocery store availability within distances of less than one kilometer to more than eight kilometers from study participants homes. The 5,115 participants (ages 18 to 30 years at baseline) in Birmingham, Ala.; Chicago; Minneapolis; and Oakland, Calif., were asked how often they ate fast food, and detailed their food consumption during the prior month as well as usual dietary habits.
Among lower income participants, the study found an association between fast food consumption and fast food availability. This relationship was particularly noticeable among men who had access to fast food between one and three kilometers from where they live. The findings did not suggest strong relationships between supermarkets and diet quality or consumption of fruits and vegetables. Availability of grocery stores had a mixed relationship with eating habits.
Our findings suggest that no single approach, such as just having access to fresh fruits and veggies, might be effective in changing the way people eat, Gordon-Larsen said. We really need to look at numerous ways of changing diet behaviors. There are likely more effective ways to influence what people eat.
For example, classifying foods as healthy or unhealthy depending on whether they are served as fast food or in a sit-down restaurant may not paint the whole picture. Maybe we need to be looking more closely at what they are ordering and the prices they pay for healthy versus less healthy foods. It is very clear that we need to find ways to improve diets, particularly of low income individuals. Simply putting in extra supermarkets per se may not solve the current health inequities. More research is needed.
More information: The paper is titled Longitudinal Associations with Diet in Young to Middle-aged Adults: The CARDIA Study. archinte.ama-assn.… /171/13/1162
Provided by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- Independent Grocery Stores Boost Urban Fruit, Veggie Consumption Mar 05, 2009 | not rated yet | 0
- Local food environments can lead to obesity Jun 18, 2009 | not rated yet | 0
- New factor in teen obesity: Parents Feb 09, 2009 | not rated yet | 0
- Corner Shops Could Bring Healthier Food to Inner Cities Apr 27, 2010 | not rated yet | 0
- Differences in neighborhood food environment may contribute to disparities in obesity Mar 19, 2009 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Classical and Quantum Mechanics via Lie algebras
Apr 15, 2011 I'd like to open a discussion thread for version 2 of the draft of my book ''Classical and Quantum Mechanics via Lie algebras'', available online at http://lanl.arxiv.org/abs/0810.1019 , and for the...
- More from Physics Forums - Independent Research
More news stories
Emergency physicians are key decisionmakers for nearly half of all hospital admissions, highlighting a critical role they can play in reducing health care costs, according to a new report from the RAND Corporation.
Health 20 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
An increasing number of U.S. children are experiencing gastrointestinal issues that require interventions to resolve, according to research presented at Digestive Disease Week (DDW).
Health May 18, 2013 | not rated yet | 0 |
Research shows that the earlier the age at which youth take their first alcoholic drink, the greater the risk of developing alcohol problems. Thus, age at first drink (AFD) is generally considered a powerful predictor of ...
Health May 17, 2013 | not rated yet | 0
One quarter of British lawmakers believe there is an "unhealthy" drinking culture in the Houses of Parliament, according to a survey published on Friday.
Health May 17, 2013 | not rated yet | 0
Researchers at the University of Cincinnati (UC) have found that the race and sex of study personnel can influence a patient's decision on whether or not to participate in clinical research.
Health May 17, 2013 | not rated yet | 0
A novel study reports that white men and women of European descent inherit common foot disorders, such as bunions (hallux valgus) and lesser toe deformities, including hammer or claw toe. Findings from the Framingham Foot ...
57 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0 |
Whole-cell pertussis vaccines were more effective at protecting against pertussis than acellular pertussis vaccines during a large recent outbreak, according to a new Kaiser Permanente study published in Pediatrics.
44 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0 |
Optimal treatment of sleep apnea in patients with prediabetes improves blood sugar (glucose) levels and thus can reduce cardiometabolic risk, according to a study to be presented at the ATS 2013 International Conference in ...
30 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0 |
Touted for safety, ease and patient convenience, peripherally inserted central catheters have become many clinicians' go-to for IV delivery of antibiotics, nutrition, chemotherapy, and other medications.
1 hour ago | not rated yet | 0
Researchers at Mayo Clinic have developed a promising method to distinguish between pancreatic cancer and chronic pancreatitis—two disorders that are difficult to tell apart. A molecular marker obtained from pancreatic ...
50 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
A new measure of the heterogeneity – the variety of genetic mutations – of cells within a tumor appears to predict treatment outcomes of patients with the most common type of head and neck cancer. In the May 20 issue ...
30 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0