Contextual Uncertainties, Human Mobility, and Perceived Food Environment: The Uncertain Geographic Context Problem in Food Access Research

Am J Public Health. 2015 Sep;105(9):1734-7. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2015.302792. Epub 2015 Jul 16.


We examined the uncertainty of the contextual influences on food access through an analytic framework of the uncertain geographic context problem (UGCoP). We first examined the compounding effects of two kinds of spatiotemporal uncertainties on people's everyday efforts to procure food and then outlined three key dimensions (food access in real time, temporality of the food environment, and perceived nutrition environment) in which research on food access must improve to better represent the contributing environmental influences that operate at the individual level. Guidelines to address the UGCoP in future food access research are provided to account for the multidimensional influences of the food environment on dietary behaviors.

MeSH terms

  • Diet*
  • Environment*
  • Food Supply*
  • Humans
  • Research / organization & administration*
  • Spatio-Temporal Analysis*
  • Uncertainty*