Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

As unhealthy food outlets multiply, teens eat more junk

Date:
July 27, 2011
Source:
University of California - Los Angeles
Summary:
Nearly three-quarters of California teenagers live or go to school in neighborhoods disproportionately crowded with fast food and other outlets that sell unhealthy food, including convenience stores, liquor stores, dollar stores and pharmacies. And unsurprisingly, teens that live or go to school in such neighborhoods are more likely to drink soda and eat fast food.

Got lots of fast food restaurants and other outlets that sell junk food in your neighborhood? Then your teen is more likely to nosh regularly on burgers and fries and wash them down with a soda.

That is the unpalatable finding of a new study from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research that examined the effect of higher concentrations of less healthy food outlets on adolescent junk food consumption.

The upshot? Nearly three-quarters of California teenagers live or go to school in neighborhoods that are crowded with fast food restaurants and other outlets that sell unhealthy food -- convenience stores, liquor stores, dollar stores and pharmacies -- relative to the number of healthier food outlets, such as grocery stores, produce vendors and farmers markets. And unsurprisingly, teens who live or go to school in such neighborhoods are more likely to drink soda and eat fast food.

Research has shown that the consumption of fast food and soda has been linked to taking in excess calories and can contribute to diabetes and obesity.

"You are what you eat. You are, also, where you live," said Susan Babey, a study co-author and a senior research scientist at the center. "And if you live in a place where there's a fast food restaurant or convenience store on every block, with few healthier alternatives, you are likely to eat more junk."

Many more unhealthy outlets

Using both the 2007 California Health Interview Survey and InfoUSA, a 2007 database of U.S. businesses, the study's authors calculated a Home and School Retail Food Environment Index, which measured the number of less healthy food outlets relative to the number of healthier outlets surrounding the homes and schools of California teens, and compared that measurement to teen junk food consumption.

They found that the average California teen has more than seven times as many junk food outlets near home and school as healthier food outlets.

And teens in more unhealthy neighborhoods were 17 percent more likely to drink soda every day and 18 percent more likely to eat fast food at least twice a week than their peers in healthier neighborhoods.

"It is a travesty that our kids have better access to liquor stores and other unhealthy food outlets than a grocery store," said Robert K. Ross, M.D., president and CEO of the California Endowment, which funded the study. "We have put our children and youth in harm's way, and they are paying the price for our carelessness. If nothing is done, this will be the first generation to live shorter lives than their parents."

Few counties immune

The research showed that few counties, whether rural or urban, were immune from the unhealthy effects of junk-food outlet density. In San Benito, Sutter, Merced and Fresno counties, more than 70 percent of teens consume at least one soda per day. In Tulare, Riverside, Ventura and Kern counties, more than 55 percent of teens eat fast food at least twice a week. In total, 13 counties across California had Home and School Retail Food Environment Index scores of more than 8 points -- an indication of a relatively unhealthy food environment.

The authors recommended a number of policy options to improve the food environments where teens live and go to school, including better zoning, especially around schools, and farm-to-school programs that bring fresh produce into school cafeterias. They also noted that better incentives were needed to bring healthy food outlets, such as farmers markets and grocery stores, into underserved neighborhoods.

"The research shows that how we plan and zone our communities has a real impact on our health and quality of life," Babey said. "Policymakers need to take this into account when deciding whether to zone a new grocery store or a fast food restaurant. Hopefully, they will make the healthy choice."

Read the policy brief, "Food Environments Near Home and School Related to Consumption of Soda and Fast Food."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - Los Angeles. The original article was written by Gwen Driscoll. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of California - Los Angeles. "As unhealthy food outlets multiply, teens eat more junk." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 July 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110727141324.htm>.
University of California - Los Angeles. (2011, July 27). As unhealthy food outlets multiply, teens eat more junk. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110727141324.htm
University of California - Los Angeles. "As unhealthy food outlets multiply, teens eat more junk." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110727141324.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Generics Eat Into Pfizer's Sales

Generics Eat Into Pfizer's Sales

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 29, 2014) Pfizer, the world's largest drug maker, cut full-year revenue forecasts because generics could cut into sales of its anti-arthritis drug, Celebrex. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins