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Obesity and Diabetes, the Built Environment, and the ‘Local’ Food Economy

Salois, Matthew (2010): Obesity and Diabetes, the Built Environment, and the ‘Local’ Food Economy.

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Abstract

Obesity and diabetes are increasingly attributed to environmental factors, however, little attention has been paid to the influence of the 'local' food economy. This paper examines the association of measures relating to the built environment and ‘local’ agriculture with U.S. county-level prevalence of obesity and diabetes. Key indicators of the ‘local’ food economy include the density of farmers’ markets, volume of direct farm sales, and presence of farm-to-school programs. This paper employs a robust regression estimator to account for non-normality of the data and to accommodate outliers. Overall, the built environment is associated with the prevalence of obesity and diabetes and a strong 'local' food economy may play an important role in prevention. Results imply considerable scope for community-level interventions.

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