How segregation makes Us Fat: Food behaviors and food environment as mediators of the relationship between residential segregation and individual body mass index

Melody Goodman, Sarah Lyons, Lorraine T. Dean, Cassandra Arroyo, James Aaron Hipp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objectives: Racial residential segregation affects food landscapes that dictate residents' food environments and is associated with obesity risk factors, including individual dietary patterns and behaviors. We examine if food behaviors and environments mediate the association between segregation and body mass index (BMI). Methods: Non-Hispanic Whites and Blacks living in the St. Louis and Kansas City metro regions from 2012 to 2013 were surveyed on dietary behaviors, food environment, and BMI (n = 1,412). These data were combined with the CDC's modified retail food environment index and 2012 American Community Survey data to calculate racial segregation using various evenness and exposure indices. Multi-level mediation analyses were conducted to determine if dietary behavior and food environment mediate the association between racial residential segregation and individual BMI. Results: The positive association between racial segregation and individual BMI is partially mediated by dietary behaviors and fully mediated by food environments. Conclusion: Racial segregation (evenness and exposure) is associated with BMI, mediated by dietary behaviors and food environment. Elements of the food environment, which form the context for dietary behaviors, are potential targets for interventions to reduce obesity in residentially segregated areas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number92
JournalFrontiers in Public Health
Volume6
Issue numberMAR
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 29 2018

Keywords

  • Body mass index
  • Food envrionment
  • Health behavior
  • Mediation
  • Residential segregation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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