Japanese Elderly Food Access and BMI

Research reported in the International Journal of Health Geographics 2011, explored the relationship between access to food outlets (convenience stores, grocery stores, and fast food) and  body mass index (BMI) in elder Japanese citizens. Using Geographic Information Systems (GIS), the access to food was mapped and multiple linear regression and logistic regression analyses were performed to examine the association between food environment and BMI.

According to the study, the results were very different than similar studies done in western countries.  They stated, ” In contrast to previous reports, we found that better access to supermarkets was related to higher BMI. Better access to fast food outlets or convenience stores was also associated with higher BMI, but only among those living alone. The logistic regression analysis, using categorized BMI, showed that the access to supermarkets was only related to being overweight or obese, but not related to being underweight.”

Furthermore, the study concluded, “Our findings provide mixed support for the types of food environment measures previously used in western settings. Importantly, our results suggest the need to develop culture-specific approaches to characterizing neighborhood contexts when hypotheses are extrapolated across national borders.”

Source: 7th Space

Sachiye Day, VERTICES intern. sachiye@vertices.com


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