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Food outlet visits, physical activity, and body weight: variations by gender and race-ethnicity
  1. Lawrence Frank (ldfrank{at}
  1. University of British Columbia, 235-1933 West Mall, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    1. Jacqueline Kerr
    1. San Diego State University, Hardy Tower 119, 5500 Campanile Dr., San Diego CA 92182-4162, United Kingdom
      1. Brian Saelens
      1. University of Washington, Box 359300, 1100 Olive Way, MPW 8-1, Seattle, WA 98101, United Kingdom
        1. Jim Sallis
        1. San Diego State University, 3900 Fifth Avenue, Suite 310, San Diego, CA 92103, United Kingdom
          1. Karen Glanz
          1. Emory University, M.S. 1518-002-1AA, 201 Dowman Drive, Atlanta, Ga. 30322, United Kingdom
            1. Jim Chapman
            1. Lawrence Frank and Company, Inc., PO Box 85508, Seattle, WA 98145, United Kingdom


              Purpose: Recent evidence documents significant associations between community design, physical activity and obesity when adjusting for demographic co-variates. Yet it is well understood that energy imbalance and weight gain is also a function of dietary patterns; and perhaps the degree of access to healthy food choices.

              Methods: The current study builds upon the Atlanta based SMARTRAQ study of over 10,000 participants and reports an integrated assessment of obesity impacts of physical activity and food outlet visitation. Participants in the SMARTRAQ survey ages 25-65 provided BMI, self reported physical activity levels (IPAQ), demographic factors, and where they went for food over a two day period.

              Results: The relative effect of physical activity, neighborhood walkability, and food outlet visitation on BMI differed significantly across gender and ethnicity. BMI in females increased with fast food and decreased with grocery story visitation and physical activity, but not with walkability or walking. BMI in males was not related with where they went for food but decreased with walking, and overall physical activity and increased with walkability. Fast food visitation was associated with increased BMI in whites and grocery store visitation with decreased BMI in blacks. Meeting moderate activity guidelines was associated with lower BMI in both blacks and whites yet only walking was only significant in predicting reduced BMI in whites.

              Conclusion: Obesity influences of physical activity, walkability, and where people go for food differ significantly across gender and ethnicity and offer important policy implications and insights for future research.

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