Introduction Obesity is a global pandemic that affects all socioeconomic strata, however, the highest figures have been observed in the most disadvantaged social groups. Evidence from the USA and Canada showed that specific urban settings encourage obesogenic behaviour in the population living and/or working there. We aim to examine the evidence on the association between local food environments and obesity in the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.
Methods Six databases from 1990 to 2017 will be searched: MEDLINE (Ovid), Embase (Ovid), Scopus, The Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), Applied Social Sciences Index and Abstracts (ASSIA) and Web of Science. Grey literature will also be sought by searching Opengrey Europe, The Grey Literature Report and relevant government websites. Additional studies will be retrieved from the reference lists of the selected articles. It will include cohort, longitudinal, case study and cross-sectional studies that have assessed the relationship between local food environments and obesity in the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand regardless of sex, age and ethnicity of the population. Two researchers will independently select the studies and extract the data. Data items will incorporate: author names, title, study design, year of study, year exposure data collected, country, city, urban/rural, age range, study exclusions, special characteristics of study populations, aims, working definitions of food environments and food outlets, exposure and methods of data collection, outcomes and key findings. A narrative synthesis and a summary of the results will be produced separately for children and adults, according to the type of food exposure–outcome. All the selected studies will be assessed using The Quality Assessment Tool for Observational Cohort and Cross-Sectional Studies.
Ethics and dissemination This study will be based on published literature, and therefore ethical approval has not been sought. Our findings will be presented at relevant national and international scientific conferences and published in a peer-reviewed journal.
- food environments
- food access
- food availability
- healthy food
- unhealthy food
- systematic review
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Contributors AFP conceived the idea for this work and drafted the protocol. The draft was critically revised according to several rounds of critical comments by DA, EG, VS and GCB. All the authors will be involved in the systematic review process.
Funding DA is supported jointly by the Medical Research Council (MRC; MR/K023209/1) and the Chief Scientist Office (CSO).
Competing interests None declared.
Patient consent Not required.
Ethics approval As this is a review of published literature ethics approval has not been sought. However, this work is subject to Institutional Review Board oversight by The University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Population Health Sciences.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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