Out-of-home food outlets and area deprivation: case study in Glasgow, UK

Macintyre, Sally; McKay, Laura; Cummins, Steven; Burns, Cate
January 2005
International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition & Physical Activit;2005, Vol. 2, p16
Academic Journal
Background: There is a popular belief that out-of-home eating outlets, which typically serve energy dense food, may be more commonly found in more deprived areas and that this may contribute to higher rates of obesity and related diseases in such areas. Methods: We obtained a list of all 1301 out-of-home eating outlets in Glasgow, UK, in 2003 and mapped these at unit postcode level. We categorised them into quintiles of area deprivation using the 2004 Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation and computed mean density of types of outlet (restaurants, fast food restaurants, cafes and takeaways), and all types combined, per 1000 population. We also estimated odds ratios for the presence of any outlets in small areas within the quintiles. Results: The density of outlets, and the likelihood of having any outlets, was highest in the second most affluent quintile (Q2) and lowest in the second most deprived quintile (Q4). Mean outlets per 1,000 were 4.02 in Q2, 1.20 in Q4 and 2.03 in Q5. With Q2 as the reference, Odds Ratios for having any outlets were 0.52 (CI 0.32-0.84) in Q1, 0.50 (CI 0.31 - 0.80) in Q4 and 0.61 (CI 0.38 - 0.98) in Q5. Outlets were located in the City Centre, West End, and along arterial roads. Conclusion: In Glasgow those living in poorer areas are not more likely to be exposed to out-of-home eating outlets in their neighbourhoods. Health improvement policies need to be based on empirical evidence about the location of fast food outlets in specific national and local contexts, rather than on popular 'factoids'.


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