Research Portal

July 1, 2022

Food Environment and Socioeconomic Status Influence Obesity Rates in Seattle and in Paris

Drewnowski, A.; Moudon, A. V.; Jiao, J.; Aggarwal, A.; Charreire, H.; Chaix, B. (2014). Food Environment and Socioeconomic Status Influence Obesity Rates in Seattle and in Paris. International Journal Of Obesity, 38(2), 306 – 314.

View Publication


OBJECTIVE: To compare the associations between food environment at the individual level, socioeconomic status (SES) and obesity rates in two cities: Seattle and Paris. METHODS: Analyses of the SOS (Seattle Obesity Study) were based on a representative sample of 1340 adults in metropolitan Seattle and King County. The RECORD (Residential Environment and Coronary Heart Disease) cohort analyses were based on 7131 adults in central Paris and suburbs. Data on sociodemographics, health and weight were obtained from a telephone survey (SOS) and from in-person interviews (RECORD). Both studies collected data on and geocoded home addresses and food shopping locations. Both studies calculated GIS (Geographic Information System) network distances between home and the supermarket that study respondents listed as their primary food source. Supermarkets were further stratified into three categories by price. Modified Poisson regression models were used to test the associations among food environment variables, SES and obesity. RESULTS: Physical distance to supermarkets was unrelated to obesity risk. By contrast, lower education and incomes, lower surrounding property values and shopping at lower-cost stores were consistently associated with higher obesity risk. CONCLUSION: Lower SES was linked to higher obesity risk in both Paris and Seattle, despite differences in urban form, the food environments and in the respective systems of health care. Cross-country comparisons can provide new insights into the social determinants of weight and health.


Obesity; Health & Social Status; Social Status; Supermarkets; Grocery Shopping; Physiology; Body-mass Index; Dietary Energy Density; Atherosclerosis Risk; Weight Status; Us Adults; Associations; Health; French; Access; Socioeconomic Status (ses); Access To Supermarket; Food Environment; Food Shopping