Associations between neighborhood food environment and adult body mass index (BMI; weight (kg)/height (m)2) derived using cross-sectional or longitudinal random-effects models may be biased due to unmeasured confounding and measurement and methodological limitations. In this study, we assessed the within-individual association between change in food environment from 2006 to 2011 and change in BMI among adults with type 2 diabetes using clinical data from the Kaiser Permanente Diabetes Registry collected from 2007 to 2011. Healthy food environment was measured using the kernel density of healthful food venues. Fixed-effects models with a 1-year-lagged BMI were estimated. Separate models were fitted for persons who moved and those who did not. Sensitivity analysis using different lag times and kernel density bandwidths were tested to establish the consistency of findings. On average, patients lost 1 pound (0.45 kg) for each standard-deviation improvement in their food environment. This relationship held for persons who remained in the same location throughout the 5-year study period but not among persons who moved. Proximity to food venues that promote nutritious foods alone may not translate into clinically meaningful diet-related health changes. Community-level policies for improving the food environment need multifaceted strategies to invoke clinically meaningful change in BMI among adult patients with diabetes.
Keywords: built environment; diabetes; econometrics; food environment; obesity.
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