The obesogenic environment model would suggest that increased availability or access to energy dense foods which are high in saturated fat may be related to obesity. The association between food outlet location, deprivation, weight status and ethnicity was analysed using individual level data on a sample of 1198 pregnant women in the UK Born in Bradford cohort using geographic information systems (GIS) methodology. In the non South Asian group 24% were obese as were 17% of the South Asian group (BMI > 30). Food outlet identification methods revealed 886 outlets that were allocated into 5 categories of food shops. More than 95% of all participants lived within 500 m of a fast food outlet. Women in higher areas of deprivation had greater access to fast food outlets and to other forms of food shops. Contrary to hypotheses, there was a negative association between BMI and fast food outlet density in close (250 m) proximity in the South Asian group. Overall, these women had greater access to all food stores including fast food outlets compared to the non South Asian group. The stronger association between area level deprivation and fast food density than with area level deprivation and obesity argues for more detailed accounts of the obesogenic environment that include measures of individual behaviour.
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