Research has linked neighborhood socioeconomic status to differential dietary quality among adults. However, the relationship between neighborhoods and children’s diet remains understudied. The aim of the research was to examine if neighborhood disadvantage (e.g. socioeconomic status, social and physical disorder) affected dietary quality among children. Data for this cross-sectional study were gathered between June 2005 and December 2008. Research participants included 182 children aged 7 to 12 years who were of Hispanic (26%), European (28%) and African American (45%) descent. Dietary intake was gathered via two 24 hour recalls and analyzed using the Nutrition Data System for Research. Descriptive statistics and ANOVA’s were conducted to determine if there were significant differences in dietary intakes by quartile grouping of neighborhood disadvantage. Multivariate linear regression analyses were used to determine if neighborhood disadvantage (as a continuous measure) was associated with dietary quality. Overall, there were no significant differences in total caloric intake, however, children in disadvantaged neighborhoods consumed a greater percentage of calories from fat (P =.039), trans fat (P =.018), and had a higher sodium intake (P=.01). The results suggest that neighborhood factors may contribute to dietary quality among children. Future interventions should assess mechanisms to improve the availability of healthy foods while taking into account neighborhood level conditions.
Keywords: neighborhood, children, diet