Center for Public Health Nutrition

Seattle Obesity Study I: A Cross Sectional Study on Food Environment, Diet Quality & Disparities in Obesity

This was a population based study of 2,001 male and female residents of King County, WA. The main purpose of the project was to examine the role of access to foods, both physical and economic, in influencing dietary choices and, thereby, contributing to disparities in obesity. The present hypothesis is that the low cost and easy access to energy-dense foods may be an independent predictor of higher obesity rates.

The study combined survey research techniques with novel methods of spatial analysis to obtain in-depth information about the participants' food shopping patterns and eating behaviors, physical and economic access to food environment, attitude towards diets and health, diet quality and health status.

This is an interdisciplinary project that brought together three institutions and joined researchers from nutrition, epidemiology, medicine, geography, health services, statistics, and urban design. The shared goal was to identify modifiable factors in food access and the food environment that are associated with lower obesity rates and to promote appropriate interventions for health promotion in population-based studies.

Start date: 03/01/2008
End date:  02/28/2011
Funding agency: National Institutes of Health

Research Team:
Adam Drewnowski, PhD
Anne Vernez Moudon, Dr es Sc
David Arterburn, MD, MPH
Andrea Cook, PhD, MS
Pablo Monsivais, PhD, MS
Phil Hurvitz, PhD
Anju Aggarwal, PhD, MSc

For more information:


Adam Drewnowski, PhD,
Director, Center for Public Health Nutrition, (206) 543-8016

Anju Aggarwal, PhD, MS.,
Acting Assistant Professor, Center for Obesity Research, (206) 616-3264

SOS I Publications