Published: December 2013

ID #: 63052

Journal: Current Urban Studies

Authors: Vander Veur SS, Sherman SB, Lent MR, McCoy TA, Wojtanowski AC, Sandoval BA, Karpyn A, Foster GD

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While there has been considerable focus on the school environment in the context of childhood obesity, less is known about the environments around the school, particularly in low-income, urban neighborhoods. The purpose of this study was to assess students’ corner store and commuting habits before and after school in a low-income, urban environment. This was a cross-sectional study. Participants were 702 4th – 6th graders from 10 K-8 public schools where 82.1% ± 7.4% of children qualified for free or reduce-priced meals. Participants were surveyed about their corner store and commuting habits using a questionnaire. Body mass index was assessed using measured weight and height, and students’ demographic information was self-reported. The majority of 4th – 6th grade urban students shopped in corner stores either in the morning (57.4%) or in the afternoon (58.5%). Nearly half (44.8%) reported shopping and purchasing in both the morning and the afternoon. Children reported spending approximately $2.00 per corner store visit. Approximately two-thirds of children reported that they walked to or from school. Children who walked to school frequented corner stores more than those using other commuting methods. Relative weight status was not related to corner store or commuting patterns. Many low-income children purchase food at corner stores before and/or after school making corner stores an important target for public health nutrition. While many children walk to school, those are more likely to frequent corner stores. Neither corner store nor commuting pattern was associated with relative weight.

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