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Background: Prior studies have demonstrated disproportionate clustering of fast food outlets around schools.

Purpose: The purpose of this study is to determine if racial/ethnic differences in middle school student self-reported sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) consumption is explained by differential distributions of food outlets surrounding their schools.

Methods: Baseline (2005) data were analyzed from 18,281 middle school students in 47 Massachusetts schools participating in Healthy Choices, an obesity prevention program. Linear mixed effects models were used to examine the association of individual race/ethnicity and daily SSB consumption and the potential mediating effect of the density of food outlets (the number of fast food outlets and convenience stores in a 1500 m buffer area surrounding the school) on this association adjusting for individual and school demographics.

Results: More SSB consumption was reported by students of all racial/ethnic minority groups compared to their White peers except Asians. The density of fast food restaurants and convenience stores was not associated with individual SSB consumption (β = 0.001, p = 0.875) nor did it mediate the association of race/ethnicity and SSB consumption.

Conclusions: Racial and ethnic differences in SSB consumption among MA middle school students cannot be fully explained by the location of fast food restaurants and convenience stores.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.