Retail investment: A barometer for teen obesity?

Sept. 23, 2013, Medical Xpress

When it comes to addressing the obesity epidemic, fast food restaurants are a favorite target, with some communities, such as the city of Los Angeles, going so far as to ban the construction of new, standalone fast food restaurants in neighborhoods with a high density of fast food restaurants that are also plagued by a high obesity rate.

But according to a new study coauthored by Michael Bader, an assistant professor of sociology at American University in Washington, D.C., communities contemplating such bans may want to look beyond the number of fast food outlets to the greater retail environment of each neighborhood.

“Fast food restaurants don’t exist in a vacuum,” Bader said. “Restaurants and stores open and close based on larger economic development patterns.”

Bader’s article, coauthored with colleagues at Columbia University and titled “More Neighborhood Retail Associated with Lower Obesity among New York City Public High School Students,” was published in the September issue of the journal Health & Place. Continue reading

Obesity higher for kids whose schools are near fast food chains

May 30, 2013, RedOrbit

By Michael Harper

Obesity is an epidemic that affects millions around the world. What’s worse, children are often particularly vulnerable to the dangers that come with being significantly overweight. In the United States, studies show that race and socioeconomic status is a major factor in childhood obesity, with African-Americans, Hispanics, and Native-Americans being the most likely to be obese.

A new study from Baylor University has found that these groups are especially at risk when fast food restaurants are located near their schools. Minority students were also found to be less active than students who attended a school without fast food options so readily available. Continue reading