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OBJECTIVE: To explore associations between dietary quality and access to different types of food outlets around both home and school in primary school-aged children. DESIGN: Cross-sectional observational study. SETTING: Hampshire, UK. SUBJECTS: Children (n 1173) in the Southampton Women's Survey underwent dietary assessment at age 6 years by FFQ and a standardised diet quality score was calculated. An activity space around each child's home and school was created using ArcGIS. Cross-sectional observational food outlet data were overlaid to derive four food environment measures: counts of supermarkets, healthy specialty stores (e.g. greengrocers), fast-food outlets and total number of outlets, and a relative measure representing healthy outlets (supermarkets and specialty stores) as a proportion of total retail and fast-food outlets. RESULTS: In univariate multilevel linear regression analyses, better diet score was associated with exposure to greater number of healthy specialty stores (β=0·025 sd/store: 95 % CI 0·007, 0·044) and greater exposure to healthy outlets relative to all outlets in children's activity spaces (β=0·068 sd/10 % increase in healthy outlets as a proportion of total outlets, 95 % CI 0·018, 0·117). After adjustment for mothers' educational qualification and level of home neighbourhood deprivation, the relationship between diet and healthy specialty stores remained robust (P=0·002) while the relationship with the relative measure weakened (P=0·095). Greater exposure to supermarkets and fast-food outlets was associated with better diet only in the adjusted models (P=0·017 and P=0·014, respectively). CONCLUSIONS: The results strengthen the argument for local authorities to increase the number of healthy food outlets to which young children are exposed.

Original publication

DOI

10.1017/S1368980017002075

Type

Journal article

Journal

Public health nutr

Publication Date

12/2017

Volume

20

Pages

3316 - 3325

Keywords

Activity space, Children’s diet quality, Food outlet exposure, Primary school-aged children, Body Mass Index, Child, Child Behavior, Cross-Sectional Studies, Diet, Environment, Fast Foods, Female, Follow-Up Studies, Health Behavior, Healthy Diet, Humans, Linear Models, Male, Nutrition Assessment, Prospective Studies, Public Health, Residence Characteristics, Socioeconomic Factors, Surveys and Questionnaires, United Kingdom