Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design


Human Nutrition and Foods

Committee Chair

Sarah Partington.


In recent years there has been considerable interest in describing and explaining increases in the prevalence of overweight and obesity. The quality of the nutrition environment, including the availability and price of healthy foods options, has been suggested as a likely contributor. This project was developed to investigate the relationship between weight status and the nutrition environment in school children in two West Virginia counties. The Nutrition Environment Measures Survey (NEMS) was conducted in Monongalia and Marshall Counties, WV. From NEMS survey data nutrition environment quality scores were calculated for 79 retail food outlets, including grocery, convenience, general, and department stores. Availability, cost, and quality were compared among store type and area-level (Census tract) poverty. Child and parent BMI, eating and physical activity habits, and child, parent and family socio-demographic characteristics were obtained from the 2009--2010 Coronary Artery Detection in Rural Appalachian Communities (CARDIAC) study screening and Parent Survey. There were no differences in availability of healthy food options or overall nutrition environment scores by area-level poverty, but there were significant differences by store type. Logistic regression was used to examine relationships between child BMI and the nutrition environment controlling for known covariates. Children with an overweight or obese parent (OR 3.8, p < 0.01) and in families with annual incomes less than {dollar}50,000 (OR 2.6, p < 0.05) were more likely to be obese and those with moderate physical activity on a regular basis (OR 0.09, p < 0.05) less likely. The results indicate the strength of familial genetic and environmental factors as contributors to child weight status as well as the importance of regular physical activity. The nutrition environment, when defined as the quality of retail food outlets within the Census tract of residence, appears to have little impact on weight status in children.