Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Science


Epidemiology and Biostatistics


Dr. Piotr Wilk


The food environment has been implicated in the continuing epidemic of childhood obesity in Canada. The purpose of this thesis is to examine associations between the food environment, childhood weight, and unhealthy diets using data collected by the Spatial Temporal Environmental and Activity Monitoring (STEAM) project conducted among children (N=852) aged 9 to 14 years in Southwestern Ontario between 2010 and 2013. Global Positioning System (GPS) monitors and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) were used to determine the time children spent within 100m of an unhealthy food outlet on weekdays. Structural equation modeling was used to assess the effect of exposure to fast food and variety stores on children’s weight, mediated by unhealthy dietary intake, stratified by sex. There were no significant associations between food outlet exposure and weight for males or females, nor was unhealthy diet a significant mediator of this relationship. Future work and public health implications are discussed.