Socioecological theory and a growing body of research suggests that geographic, racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic disparities in the prevalence of obesity are linked to disparities in the availability of food retail outlets that provide healthy food options. We examined the availability of food stores for low-income women in Kansas and tested whether food store availability was associated with obesity using cross-sectional, geocoded data from women participating in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) (n = 21,166) in Kansas. The availability and density of food stores within a 1, 3, and 5 mile radius of residence was determined, and multivariate logistic regression was used to examine the association of food store availability with obesity. The availability of convenience, grocery stores, and supermarkets varied across the urban-rural continuum, but the majority of WIC recipients lived within a 1 mile radius of a small grocery store. WIC participants in micropolitan areas had the greatest availability of food stores within a 1 mile radius of residence. Availability and density of food stores was not associated with obesity in metropolitan and rural areas, but availability and density of any type of food store was associated with an increased risk of obesity among WIC recipients in micropolitan areas. These results suggest that limited spatial availability of grocery stores and supermarkets does not contribute to obesity risk among low-income WIC recipients in Kansas, and that urban influence moderates the contribution of food environments to obesity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Nutrition and Dietetics