past Project

RWJF - Healthy Eating Research

In a study funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Healthy Eating Research and New Connections Programs, we (Naa Oyo A. Kwate and Ji Meng Loh) investigated the spatial relationship between fast food and schools, and the role of school and neighborhood segregation in shaping these relationships. This work grew in part out of our work on inequality in the distribution of fast food across the five boroughs of New York City, where we found that the proportion of Black residents in census block groups was the strongest predictor of fast food density. Given the high rates of childhood obesity among Black and Latino youth in NYC, we asked: 1) Does fast food cluster around schools (public and private; elementary and high school) in the city? We defined clustering as falling within a 400m Euclidean radius of the school. 2) If there is evidence of clustering, is it stronger in predominantly Black neighborhoods or around predominantly Black schools? The results were affirmative for both questions.