UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Dietary Intake and the Neighbourhood Environment in the BC Generations Project Murphy, Rachel Anne; Kuczynski, Gabriela; Bhatti, Parveen; Dummer, Trevor J. B.


Poor diet is a major risk factor for many chronic diseases including cancer. Understanding broader contextual factors that influence dietary intake is important for making tangible progress towards improving diet at the population level. This study investigated neighbourhood social and built environment factors and fruit and vegetable intake among ~28,000 adults aged 35–69 years within the BC Generations Project. Daily fruit and vegetable intake was categorized according to guidelines (≥5 servings/day vs. <5 servings/day). Geospatial characteristics included walkability, greenness, marginalization, and material and social deprivation, reflecting access to goods and amenities and social relationships. Generalized, linear mixed-effect models adjusted for sociodemographic factors and lifestyle variables were used to estimate the odds ratios (ORs). Participants living in neighbourhoods with greater material deprivation (e.g., OR = 0.77; 95% CI: 0.70–0.86 for very high material deprivation) and very high social deprivation (OR = 0.90; 95% CI: 0.82–0.99) were less likely to meet recommendations for fruit and vegetable consumption relative to those living in areas with very low material deprivation and very low social deprivation, respectively. Relative to participants living in areas with very low greenness, participants living in neighbourhoods with high (OR = 1.10, 95% CI 1.01–1.20) to very high (OR = 1.11, 95% CI 1.01–1.21) greenness were more likely to meet recommendations for fruits and vegetables. These findings highlight the complexity of dietary intake which may be shaped by multiple neighbourhood characteristics.

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