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Association between access to convenience stores and childhood obesity: A systematic review

05 Jul 2019

Summary

Childhood obesity increases the risk of adulthood obesity and is associated with other adverse health outcomes later in life. It may be influenced by environmental characteristics of neighborhoods where children live, particularly dietary supply–related environmental factors. This study aimed to systematically review the evidence on the association between access to convenience stores and childhood obesity. We searched and filtered relevant literature in PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, and Cochrane Library published before 1 January 2019. Data on the basic characteristics of studies, measures of access to convenience stores, and associations of convenience stores with weight‐related behaviors and outcomes were extracted from 41 included studies. In general, the density of and proximity to convenience stores in children's residential and school neighborhoods were positively associated with unhealthy eating behaviors. However, their associations with children's weight status varied significantly by regions. The association between convenience store access and children's weight status was found to be negative in Canada, rather mixed in the United States and the United Kingdom, and not significant in East Asia. We suggest future research to clearly define the convenience store, better measure the access to convenience store, and also measure children's journey and food purchasing and consumption behaviors, to explain pathways from convenience store access to childhood obesity for designing effective interventions and policies.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in Obesity Reviews