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Title: Fast food and obesity : a geographical analysis
Author: Fraser, Lorna Katharine
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2012
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The prevalence of obesity in adolescence has tripled over the last 30 years in the western world and the 'obesogenic environment' is implicated as one of the factors which may have contributed to the epidemic. Fast food has been shown to be calorie dense, high in salt and saturated fat and low in micronutrients. This thesis aims to explore the association between fast food accessibility, fast food consumption and obesity in the United Kingdom. Data from participants of a UK birth cohort (ALSPAC) were used for the majority of these analyses. A weighted accessibility score of the number of fast food outlets within a 1km network buffer of the participant's residence at age 13 was used as the main measure of access to fast food. Cross sectional and longitudinal data analyses were undertaken using several statistical methods. The structural equation modelling analyses showed that the teenagers who ate at fast food restaurants consumed more unhealthy foods and were more likely to have higher BMISOS than teenagers who did not eat frequently at fast food restaurants. The teenagers who were exposed to more takeaway foods at home ate more frequently at fast food restaurants and eating at fast food restaurants was also associated with lower intakes of vegetables and raw fruit in this cohort. In the longitudinal analyses the consumption of fast food at age 13 was associated with higher BMISOS, higher body fat percent and increased the likelihood of being obese at age 15. The relationship between access to fast food outlets and the consumption of fast food varied over space with some areas having a positive association (increased access more likely to consume fast food) whilst another area had a negative association (increased access less likely to consume fast food). This evidence could be used to encourage improvement in the nutritional content of fast food within the UK but targeted, rather than blanket, restrictions on the location of fast food outlets may be beneficial in reducing fast food consumption.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available