Neighborhood Availability and Use of Food, Physical Activity, and Social Services Facilities in Relation to Overweight and Obesity in Children and Adolescents

Camila Elizandra Rossi, Maria Gabriela M. Pinho, Elizabeth Nappi Corrêa, Ângelo Horta de Abreu, Cassiano Ricardo Rech, Jorge Ricardo da Costa Ferreira, Francisco de Assis Guedes de Vasconcelos

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Objective: To evaluate the association of a combined measure of availability and use of facilities from the food environment and overweight (including obesity) among schoolchildren, while taking into account the physical activity and social-assistance environments. Methods: Cross-sectional study with a probabilistic sample of schoolchildren aged 7 to 14 years living in a southern Brazilian city (n = 2026). Multilevel analyses were performed with overweight as outcome and the food environment as main exposure. Models were adjusted for the physical activity and social-assistance environments, as well as individual and other residential neighborhood characteristics. Results: Greater availability of restaurants around the home was associated with higher odds of overweight (odds ratio [OR] = 1.40; 95% CI = 1.06-1.85). Stronger associations were found for schoolchildren reporting to use restaurants (OR = 1.48; 95% CI = 1.15-1.90). This association remained significant after adjusting for the presence of other food retailers. Schoolchildren who had social-assistance facilities around their homes, but reported not to use them, showed consistently higher odds of being overweight (OR = 1.34; 95% CI = 1.01-1.78) as compared to schoolchildren who had these facilities near home and used them. The physical activity environment was not associated with the outcome. Conclusions: Availability and use of the food and social-assistance environments were significantly associated with overweight (including obesity) among the schoolchildren. Future research should consider the use of environmental facilities in combination to their geographical availability. Our results highlight the need for policies that limit the access to obesogenic food outlets by children and adolescents.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12-26
Number of pages15
JournalFood and nutrition bulletin
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023


  • Built environment
  • Cbesity
  • Physical activity environment
  • Social environment
  • Youth


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