The local food environment and diet: A systematic review

Caitlin E. Caspi, Glorian Sorensen, S. V. Subramanian, Ichiro Kawachi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

918 Scopus citations


Despite growing attention to the problem of obesogenic environments, there has not been a comprehensive review evaluating the food environment-diet relationship. This study aims to evaluate this relationship in the current literature, focusing specifically on the method of exposure assessment (GIS, survey, or store audit). This study also explores 5 dimensions of "food access" (availability, accessibility, affordability, accommodation, acceptability) using a conceptual definition proposed by Penchansky and Thomas (1981). Articles were retrieved through a systematic keyword search in Web of Science and supplemented by the reference lists of included studies. Thirty-eight studies were reviewed and categorized by the exposure assessment method and the conceptual dimensions of access it captured. GIS-based measures were the most common measures, but were less consistently associated with diet than other measures. Few studies examined dimensions of affordability, accommodation, and acceptability. Because GIS-based measures on their own may not capture important non-geographic dimensions of access, a set of recommendations for future researchers is outlined.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1172-1187
Number of pages16
JournalHealth and Place
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2012


  • Diet
  • Food environment
  • GIS
  • Measurement
  • Neighborhood
  • Survey


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