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Adolescence is a period of increased autonomy over decision-making, including food choices, and increased exposure to influences outside the home, including the food environment. This review aims to synthesize the evidence for the influence of community nutrition environments, spatial access to food outlets, and consumer nutrition environments, environments inside food outlets, on adolescent food purchasing and dietary behaviors in high-income countries. Six databases were searched for articles published before January 2023. Results were synthesized using a vote-counting technique and effect direction plots that record the direction of the effect in relation to the anticipated relationship with health. Thirty-four observational and two intervention studies met the inclusion criteria. In the 13 studies assessing adolescent exposure to healthy community nutrition environments, results did not show clear associations with dietary and purchasing outcomes. Thirty studies assessed adolescents' exposure to unhealthy community nutrition environments with the majority (n = 17/30, 57%) reporting results showing that greater exposure to food outlets classified as unhealthy was associated with less healthy food purchases and dietary intakes. Inconsistent results were observed across the seven studies investigating associations with the consumer environment. Further research in these areas, including more high-quality intervention studies, may help to develop policy strategies to improve adolescents' dietary behaviors.

Original publication




Journal article


Obesity reviews : an official journal of the international association for the study of obesity

Publication Date



MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Centre, University of Southampton, Southampton, SO16 6YD, UK.