SEATTLE CHILDREN’S RESEARCH INSTITUTE
Childhood obesity continues to be highly prevalent in the U.S. There is a higher prevalence among lower-income children, but less research examining neighborhood built or physical environments in relation to childhood obesity. Reviews of the limited evidence on environmental factors note variability in the ages of the children studied, and differences across studies in the measures (e.g., parent report versus more objective measures) and environmental factors as contributing to inconsistent fındings. More evidence is needed, particularly given recent recommendations targeting changes in environment and policies to prevent childhood obesity.
Studies exploring environment– childhood obesity associations have been more focused on physical activity than nutrition environmental factors, with some evidence of obesity associations with walkability and access to parks/playgrounds. One study found that further distance from a supermarket was related to higher child overweight, whereas another study reported that having a convenience store located 0.25 miles from home was related to higher risk of overweight/obesity among younger girls. A recent UK study reported that children aged 9–10 years with healthy food outlets (e.g., supermarkets) proximal to their homes had lower BMI z-scores than children without such availability. Conversely, children with proximal unhealthy food outlets (e.g., fast-food restaurants) had higher BMI z-scores.
About the Seattle Children’s Research Institute
“As one of the nation’s top five pediatric research centers, Seattle Children’s Research Institute is dedicated to making breakthrough discoveries that help prevent, treat and cure childhood disease. Our researchers have pioneered groundbreaking cystic fibrosis treatments and cutting-edge cancer therapies that help a child’s immune system defeat cancer, and made other major contributions to pediatric medicine. Now, with more than 350 investigators researching hundreds of diseases and disorders, and nearly $53 million in federal research funding for the 2010 fiscal year, we are working toward the next wave of lifesaving discoveries.”