Youth dietary intake and weight status: Healthful neighborhood food environments enhance the protective role of supportive family home environments

Jerica M. Berge, Melanie Wall, Nicole Larson, Ann Forsyth, Katherine W. Bauer, Dianne Neumark-Sztainer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

41 Scopus citations


The aim of this study is to investigate individual and joint associations of the home environment and the neighborhood built environment with adolescent dietary patterns and body mass index (BMI) z-score. Racially/ethnically and socioeconomically diverse adolescents (n=2682; 53.2% girls; mean age14.4 years) participating in the EAT 2010 (Eating and Activity in Teens) study completed height and weight measurements and surveys in Minnesota middle and high schools. Neighborhood variables were measured using Geographic Information Systems data. Multiple regressions of BMI z-score, fruit and vegetable intake, and fast food consumption were fit including home and neighborhood environmental variables as predictors and also including their interactions to test for effect modification. Supportive family environments (i.e., higher family functioning, frequent family meals, and parent modeling of healthful eating) were associated with higher adolescent fruit and vegetable intake, lower fast food consumption, and lower BMI z-score. Associations between the built environment and adolescent outcomes were fewer. Interaction results, although not all consistent, indicated that the relationship between a supportive family environment and adolescent fruit and vegetable intake and BMI was enhanced when the neighborhood was supportive of healthful behavior. Public health interventions that simultaneously improve both the home environment and the neighborhood environment of adolescents may have a greater impact on adolescent obesity prevention than interventions that address one of these environments alone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)69-77
Number of pages9
JournalHealth and Place
StatePublished - Mar 2014



  • Adolescents
  • Built environment
  • Dietary intake
  • Family functioning
  • Obesity

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