Inconsistencies in methodologies continue to inhibit understanding of the impact of the environment on body mass index (BMI). To estimate the effect of these differences, we assessed the impact of using different definitions of neighbourhood and data sets on associations between food outlet availability within the environment and BMI. Previous research has not extended this to show any differences in the strength of associations between food outlet availability and BMI across both different definitions of neighbourhood and data sets. Descriptive statistics showed differences in the number of food outlets, particularly other food retail outlets between different data sets and definitions of neighbourhood. Despite these differences, our key finding was that across both different definitions of neighbourhood and data sets, there was very little difference in size of associations between food outlets and BMI. Researchers should consider and transparently report the impact of methodological choices such as the definition of neighbourhood and acknowledge any differences in associations between the food environment and BMI.
- Food outlets
- body mass index
- Lower Layer Super Output Area