Neighborhood-Level Disadvantage Is Associated with Reduced Dietary Quality in Children

Academic Article


  • Research has linked neighborhood socioeconomic status to differential dietary quality among adults. However, the relationship between neighborhoods and children's diet remains understudied. The aim of this research was to examine whether neighborhood disadvantage (eg, socioeconomic status, social and physical disorder) affected dietary quality among children. Data for this cross-sectional study were gathered between June 2005 and December 2008. Research participants included 182 children aged 7 to 12 years who were Hispanic (26%), white (28%), and African American (45%). Dietary intake was gathered via two 24-hour recalls and analyzed using the Nutrition Data System for Research. Descriptive statistics and analyses of variance were conducted to determine whether there were significant differences in dietary intakes by quartile grouping of neighborhood disadvantage. Multivariate linear regression analyses were used to determine whether neighborhood disadvantage (as a continuous measure) was associated with dietary quality. Overall, there were no significant differences in total caloric intake; however, children in disadvantaged neighborhoods consumed a greater percentage of calories from fat (P=0.039), trans fat (P=0.018), and had a higher sodium intake (P=0.01). The results suggest that neighborhood factors may contribute to dietary quality among children. Future interventions should assess mechanisms to improve the availability of healthful foods, while taking into account neighborhood-level conditions. © 2009 American Dietetic Association.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Keita AD; Casazza K; Thomas O; Fernandez JR
  • Start Page

  • 1612
  • End Page

  • 1616
  • Volume

  • 109
  • Issue

  • 9