Theses Doctoral

The Role of the Neighborhood Fast Food Environment in Weight Status of Inner-City Children

Schwartz-Soicher, Ofira

In the past three decades prevalence of obesity has increased substantively in the US and has reached epidemic proportions both among adults and among children. Childhood obesity is of significant concern because it is associated with childhood morbidity, adverse social outcomes and may be associated with life-long implications. In recent years, there has been an increased interest in understanding the possible role of local food environment in shaping individual's behavior in ways that may encourage food consumption and affect weight status. This study examines whether fast food availability at the residential neighborhood may explain children's risk for obesity. Data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing study, a population-based panel data of urban children and their families, were linked to locations of fast food outlets. Using both cross-sectional and longitudinal analytic techniques and numerous robustness checks, I find no discernible effect of exposure to fast food at the residential neighborhood on children's weight. Policies designed to reduce accessibility to fast food in children's residential neighborhood may not be effective in the effort to fight the childhood obesity epidemic.



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More About This Work

Academic Units
Social Work
Thesis Advisors
Teitler, Julien O.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
May 30, 2013