Exposure to food environments, diet and weight status in children

Cetateanu, Andreea (2014) Exposure to food environments, diet and weight status in children. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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There is a growing interest in understanding how the built food environment influences health behaviours. Whilst policy interest in the influence of food environments on diet and body weight is growing, the evidence base is limited, particularly for environments beyond the home neighbourhood. Research in children is of particular importance, as it is known that dietary behaviours and weight tend to track into adulthood.
This thesis addresses the gap in knowledge surrounding the influence of exposure to the food environment on weight and diet in children. It also takes into consideration the interactions with socio-economic status. Existing research exploring the environmental influences on diet and weight in children is reviewed, and a conceptual framework of key determinants identified is presented. Three studies are presented which investigate associations between different measures of exposure to the food environment and diet and weight. A systematic review investigating the use of GPS in studies of the food environment is also conducted. Additionally, a novel method for assessing environmental exposure is presented.
The results from this research suggest that unhealthy food environments measured at an area level are generally conducive to weight gain and poorer diet, while the opposite is true for healthier food environments. Furthermore, this thesis supports the hypothesis that diet, weight and access to food are patterned by social class, and that the food environment partially mediates the well-known association between socio-economic status and weight status. However, findings were equivocal when using measuring exposure to the food environment at an individual level. This suggests that correctly measuring the characteristics of the food environment is important in order to disentangle their effects on health outcomes, and calls for efforts to attempt to reduce the heterogeneity in measures of the food environment employed.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Environmental Sciences
Depositing User: Users 2259 not found.
Date Deposited: 19 Jun 2015 11:01
Last Modified: 19 Jun 2015 11:01
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/53374


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