Sociodemographic Disparities in Proximity of Schools to Tobacco Outlets and Fast-Food Restaurants

Am J Public Health. 2016 Sep;106(9):1556-62. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2016.303259. Epub 2016 Jul 26.


Objectives: To examine the association of school sociodemographic characteristics with tobacco outlet and fast-food restaurant availability near schools in a national study.

Methods: Business lists and data from the National Center for Education Statistics were used to calculate the numbers of tobacco outlets and fast-food restaurants within 800 meters of public schools in 97 US counties.

Results: More than 50% of schools with a majority of Hispanic students had both a fast-food restaurant and tobacco outlet nearby, compared with 21% of schools with a majority of White students. In adjusted models, each 10% increase in the number of low-income and Hispanic students enrolled in a school led to a 3% to 5% increase in the odds of the school having both a fast-food restaurant and a tobacco outlet nearby.

Conclusions: Low-income and Hispanic students are disproportionately exposed to both tobacco outlets and fast-food restaurants near their schools. Easy access to tobacco products and fast food may influence youth smoking initiation and contribute to poor dietary intake.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Commerce / statistics & numerical data*
  • Fast Foods*
  • Female
  • Hispanic or Latino / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Poverty
  • Residence Characteristics / statistics & numerical data*
  • Restaurants*
  • Schools*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Tobacco*
  • United States