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A temporal analysis of the spatial clustering of food outlets around schools in Christchurch, New Zealand, 1966 to 2006

  • Peter L Day (a1), Jamie R Pearce (a2) and Amber L Pearson (a3)

Abstract

Objective

To explore changes in urban food environments near schools, as potential contributors to the rising prevalence of overweight and obesity among children.

Design

Addresses of food premises and schools in 1966, 1976, 1986, 1996 and 2006 were geo-coded. For each year, the number and proportion of outlets by category (supermarket/grocery; convenience; fast-food outlet) within 800 m of schools were calculated. The degree of spatial clustering of outlets was assessed using a bivariate K-function analysis. Food outlet categories, school level and school social deprivation quintiles were compared.

Setting

Christchurch, New Zealand.

Subjects

All schools and food outlets at 10-year snapshots from 1966 to 2006.

Results

Between 1966 and 2006, the median number of supermarkets/grocery stores within 800 m of schools decreased from 5 to 1, convenience stores decreased from 2 to 1, and fast-food outlets increased from 1 to 4. The ratio of fast-food outlets to total outlets increased from 0·10 to 0·67. The clustering of fast-food outlets was greatest within 800 m of schools and around the most socially deprived schools. Over the 40-year study period, school food environments in Christchurch can be characterized by increased densities of fast-food outlets within walking distance of schools, especially around the most deprived schools.

Conclusions

Since the 1960s, there have been substantial changes to the food environments around schools which may increasingly facilitate away-from-home food consumption for children and provide easily accessible, cheap energy-dense foods, a recognized contributor to the rise in prevalence of overweight and obesity among young people.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: Email amber.pearson@otago.ac.nz

References

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Keywords

A temporal analysis of the spatial clustering of food outlets around schools in Christchurch, New Zealand, 1966 to 2006

  • Peter L Day (a1), Jamie R Pearce (a2) and Amber L Pearson (a3)

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