Food environments of young people: linking individual behaviour to environmental context
Tyrrell, Rachel L.
Mathers, John C.
Adamson, Ashley J.
Background We aimed to identify and characterise the food environments from which young people obtain food and to explore associations between type of food environment and food intakes. Methods Young people (n=86, mean age 17 years; combined data of two sequential pilot studies (collected in 2008-9) and a study conducted in 2011-12) recorded in 4-day self-complete food diaries what food they consumed and where food was sourced. Nutrient, fruit and vegetable intake was calculated according to the source of food, categorised using a food environment classification tool. Results Over 4-days, respondents sourced food from an average of 4.3 different food environments. Home was used daily and was more favourable in terms of nutrient profile than out-of-home food. Food sourced from specialist outlets, convenience stores and retail bakers had the highest energy density. Food from retail bakers and ‘takeaway and fast food’ outlets were the richest sources of fat while vending machines and convenience stores had the highest percentage of energy from sugar. Conclusions This work provides details of where young people obtain food and the nutritional consequences of choosing those food environments. While home food was a significant contributor to total dietary intake, food was obtained from a broad range of environments; particularly take-away, fast food, and education establishments