This study examined whether physical, social, cultural and economical environmental factors are associated with obesogenic dietary behaviours and overweight/obesity among adults. Literature searches of databases (i.e. PubMed, CSA Illumina, Web of Science, PsychInfo) identified studies examining environmental factors and the consumption of energy, fat, fibre, fruit, vegetables, sugar-sweetened drinks, meal patterns and weight status. Twenty-eight studies were in-scope, the majority (n= 16) were conducted in the USA. Weight status was consistently associated with the food environment; greater accessibility to supermarkets or less access to takeaway outlets were associated with a lower BMI or prevalence of overweight/obesity. However, obesogenic dietary behaviours did not mirror these associations; mixed associations were found between the environment and obesogenic dietary behaviours. Living in a socioeconomically-deprived area was the only environmental factor consistently associated with a number of obesogenic dietary behaviours. Associations between the environment and weight status are more consistent than that seen between the environment and dietary behaviours. The environment may play an important role in the development of overweight/obesity, however the dietary mechanisms that contribute to this remain unclear and the physical activity environment may also play an important role in weight gain, overweight and obesity.
© 2010 The Authors. obesity reviews © 2010 International Association for the Study of Obesity.