Exploring saturation in food outlet access in Greater London, and examining associations with diet quality and body weight in a large sample of adults


Research Centre: Healthy High Density Cities Lab

Project title: Exploring saturation in food outlet access in Greater London, and examining associations with diet quality and body weight in a large sample of adults. 2

HKUrbanLabs research cluster: Healthy CitiesHD

Project Team: Pablo Monsivais (PI), Thomas Burgoine (Co-I), Chris Webster (Co-PI), Chinmoy Sarkar (Co-I).

Project: UK Biobank MTA 10570; MOU for collaborative research signed by the mentioned team members.

Abstract:

It is hypothesized that the distribution of food outlets in our towns and cities is related to diet and health. However, the scientific evidence base regarding these neighbourhood food environment effects on individuals remains equivocal. It is also unclear whether existing methods of capturing food environment exposure are able to reveal heterogeneity in urban areas considered ‘saturated’. This study will explore potential saturation in food outlet exposure in Greater London, and will examine the extent to which neighbourhood access to food outlets is associated with diet quality, body weight and odds of overweight/obesity in adults. The study will begin by interrogating established built environment measures of food access, already calculated by food outlet type using accurate data from UKMap, for 52,360 adult UK Biobank participants located within Greater London. We will describe exposures to different types of food outlet for the study sample, drawing on precedent from New York City, which has a similarly high population density and potentially saturated food retail environment. Assuming exposure heterogeneity, we will then relate food outlet exposures to frequency of takeaway food consumption, body weight (body mass index and percent body fat) and odds of being overweight and obese.

Anticipated outcomes: A series of 3 papers in high impact journals (one led by HKU).

2Note: This is a HKUrban Lab – CEDAR, Cambridge University collaboration arising out of core UKBUMP work.

“The treatment of a disease represents an admission of failure. Prevention is the goal of medical research and clinical practice.”

Archie Cockrane

Figure. Spatial distribution of some food outlet typologies within Greater London. Map developed by Dr C. Sarkar from UK Map data. ©The GeoInformation Group
UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG
FACULTY OF ARCHITECTURE