A study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics reveals the relationship between convenience store locations (where predominantly unhealthy foods are sold) and the body weight of 3- to 15-year-old children.

Researchers looked at the location of store(s) within a mile of where families lived (and had been residing for 24 months). When there was one additional convenience store in an area, children had an 11.7% increased risk of having a higher body mass index. On the other hand, there was a 37.3% lower risk of being in a higher zBMI range for children whose homes were located within close proximity to a small grocery store selling an assortment of healthy food items.

No consistent patterns were found for changes in exposure to supermarkets, restaurants or pharmacies.

Childhood obesity has a multifaceted etiology, and changes in the community food environment is one thing that can affect weight status over time. In this case, increasing the healthfulness of food offered at convenience stores in dense urban areas to levels similar to what’s found in small grocery stores may have the potential to improve weight status in younger generations.

See also: ZIP Code Trumps Genetic Code in Determining Health