Posted on Jan 20, 2019, 10 p.m.
Geographic disparities between soda drinkers and salad eaters are driven by house prices: the lowest property values were associated with less salad and more soda with the opposite being true of higher property values, after adjusting for demographics, according to a new paper published in the journal Social Science and Medicine--Population Health.
New research on social disparities suggests those who live in waterfront neighborhoods in Seattle tend to have healthier diets compared to those who live along Interstate 5 and Aurora Avenue, using local data to model food consumption patterns by city block with weekly servings of soda and salad serving as proxy for diet quality.
Dietary choices and health are determined to a large extent by where we live; where we live can be determined by education, income, and access to material and social resources, says Adam Drewnowski, who adds we need a closer look at socioeconomic determinants of health.
Geo-localized dietary data of some 1,100 adults based on home address was linked to residential property values; data on gender, age, race, ethnicity, education, and annual household income was collected via telephone surveys in which participants were also asked how often they had salad and/or soda. Health Eating Index Scores were calculated for each participants ranging from 0-100, with higher scores indicating better diet quality.
According to the University of Washington School of Public Health researchers those who ate more salad tended to have higher scores associated with more healthy eating behaviors; those who drank more soda tended to have lower scores. Disparities of soda consumption were clear, but there was no significant difference by age, income, or education; however Black and Hispanic residents were found to report more soda consumption than White residents. Women and those over the age of 55 tended to eat more salads; those with some college consumed more salad than those with only high school or less; those earning $50,000 or more ate more salads per week than those earning less; and there was no significant difference found in salad consumption by race or ethnicity.
Salad and soda were selected as they are the hallmarks of healthy vs unhealthy diet targets for obesity prevention policy interventions, and they were used as proxy of diet quality in the Behavioral Risks Factors Surveillance Study.
Interventions towards promoting healthier eating habits tend to focus on taxing cheap sodas and reducing prices of fresh produce; this is a good example of Seattle’s soda tax which took effect January 2018. As more states and cities seek to develop targeted interventions for health more place based tools will be needed to identify high risk or high need communities.
The Seattle Obesity Study was a population based study of 2,001 residents of King County to examine roles of access to foods influencing dietary choice and contributing to disparities in obesity.
Materials provided by University of Washington.
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Adam Drewnowski, James Buszkiewicz, Anju Aggarwal. Soda, salad, and socioeconomic status: Findings from the Seattle Obesity Study (SOS). SSM - Population Health, 2019; 7: 100339 DOI: 10.1016/j.ssmph.2018.100339