Fast Food Close to Home Affects Diet in Low-Income Men

But, generally, supermarket and grocery store availability close to home is unrelated to diet

WEDNESDAY, July 13 (HealthDay News) -- Availability of supermarket and grocery stores close to home is generally unrelated to diet, but low-income respondents may be sensitive to fast food availability, particularly for men with fast food chains located within 1.00 to 2.99 km of home, according to a study published in the July 11 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Janne Boone-Heinonen, Ph.D., from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and colleagues investigated the influence of fast food chain, neighborhood supermarkets, and grocery store availability on fast food consumption, diet quality, and fruit and vegetable consumption in longitudinal data collected over 15 years from 5,115 adults aged 18 to 30 years at baseline. These eating habits were modeled based on the distance to fast food chains, supermarkets, and grocery stores (less than 1.00 km, 1.00 to 2.99 km, 3.00 to 4.99 km, and 5.00 to 8.05 km of homes). The models were stratified by gender, controlled for individual sociodemographic characteristics and neighborhood poverty, and the interactions were assessed by individual-level income.

The investigators found that, among low-income respondents, fast food consumption was correlated with fast food availability, particularly among men within 1.00 to 2.99 km of home (coefficient, 0.34). Higher supermarket availability was generally not related to fruit and vegetable intake, and diet quality. Mixed relationships were seen between grocery store availability and diet outcomes.

"We found evidence that low-income men may be sensitive to fast food availability within shorter distances from home," the authors write. "Supermarket and grocery store availability was generally unrelated to diet."

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