Proximity to Supermarkets Decreases Childhood BMI

Lauren Fiechtner MD MPH Director of Nutrition Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition Massachusetts General Hospital for Children

Dr. Lauren Fiechtner

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Lauren Fiechtner MD MPH
Director of Nutrition
Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition
Massachusetts General Hospital for Children

MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Fiechtner: In previous studies, we investigated if distance to a supermarket was associated with a child’s BMI or weight status. These were cross-sectional studies measuring only one point in time. We wondered if distance to a supermarket modified how much children in a behavioral intervention improved their weight or dietary intake. In particular we examined 498 children participating in the Study of Technology to Accelerate Research, which was a randomized controlled trial to treat childhood obesity in Eastern Massachusetts. The intervention included computerized clinician decision support plus a family self-guided behavior change intervention or a health coach intervention, which included text messages to the family to promote behavior change. We found that children living closer to supermarkets were able to increase their fruit and vegetable intake and decrease their BMI z-score more during the intervention period than children living farther from supermarkets.

MedicalResearch: should patients and clinicians take away from this report?

Dr. Fiechtner: As we help families with suggestions for healthy dietary behaviors, we need to keep in mind the neighborhoods families are living in. Many families face time and financial constraints and having easy access to a supermarket may impact their ability to make the changes we are suggesting.

MedicalResearch: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Fiechtner: Future researchers should examine the neighborhoods their participants are living in. This could help identify why certain children are more successful than others not only in getting to a healthier weight but also maintaining it with good eating habits through access to healthy, fresh foods. Policymakers and community leaders, as well as clinicians and researchers, need to be involved in creative ways to improve all families’ access to healthy foods, with incentives for building in low-income neighborhoods and lowering costs of fruit and vegetables.Creating a better self-service experience for their custommers may also help them with this too. Did you know that the self-service principle exists online too? For more information why not check out https://www.salesforce.com/products/service-cloud/what-is-self-service/, it does a great job of explaining self-service!

Citation:

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Dr. Lauren Fiechtner (2016). Proximity to Supermarkets Decreases Childhood BMI

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