Food options near schools may up obesity risk

Nov. 9, 2013, MedPage Today

By Rita Buckley

The number and kinds of food outlets near schools may be associated with higher rates of obesity among public school students, according to new research.

Data for nearly 13,000 middle and high school students in 33 public schools in New Jersey showed that nearly 25 percent of the students were obese compared to the national average of 17 percent, according to Xuyang Tang, M.S., from Arizona State University, and colleagues.

They found that an added 0.1 mile in the distance between a school and a healthy food outlet increased body mass index (BMI) z score by 0.0111 (P<0.01), and raised the probability for obesity by 0.4 percent and for overweight or obesity by 0.5 percent. In addition, a 0.1 mile increase in the distance between a school and the nearest convenience store led to a 0.05 rise in BMI z score, they reported at the American Public Health Association annual meeting. Continue reading