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Adult BMI and Access to Built Environment Resources in a High-Poverty, Urban Geography

      Introduction

      The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between BMI and access to built environment resources in a high-poverty, urban geography.

      Methods

      Participants (aged ≥35 years) were surveyed between November 2012 and July 2013 to examine access to common health-enabling resources (grocers, outpatient providers, pharmacies, places of worship, and physical activity resources). Survey data were linked to a contemporaneous census of built resources. Associations between BMI and access to resources (potential and realized) were examined using independent t-tests and multiple linear regression. Data analysis was conducted in 2014–2015.

      Results

      Median age was 53.8 years (N=267, 62% cooperation rate). Obesity (BMI ≥30) prevalence was 54.9%. BMI was not associated with potential access to resources located nearest to home. Nearly all participants (98.1%) bypassed at least one nearby resource type; half bypassed nearby grocers (realized access >1 mile from home). Bypassing grocers was associated with a higher BMI (p=0.03). Each additional mile traveled from home to a grocer was associated with a 0.9-higher BMI (95% CI=0.4, 1.3). Quality and affordability were common reasons for bypassing resources.

      Conclusions

      Despite potential access to grocers in a high-poverty, urban region, half of participants bypassed nearby grocers to access food. Bypassing grocers was associated with a higher BMI.
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