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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Washington: Mapping Wealth and Diet Quality

The University of Washington School of Public Health and collaborating institutions have developed a method for measuring socioeconomic status and connecting it to measures of diet quality.

By linking residential property values with dietary data from the Seattle Obesity Study, researchers have been able to simulate the geographic distribution of diet quality across Seattle-King County down to the census-block level.

The study, which was published in Preventive Medicine, was led by Dr. Adam Drewnowski, professor in the department of epidemiology and director of the School’s Center for Public Health Nutrition.

Researchers found that healthy eating was more closely tied to education and property values, compared to income. The findings show that property values may capture wealth disparities better than measures of education and income.

“Using maps of property values that are freely and publicly available may be useful for identifying populations in need of more help,” said Dr. Andrea Cook, associate investigator at Group Health Research Institute and affiliate associate professor of biostatistics at the UW School of Public Health.

Co-authors were Dr. Anju Aggarwal, Dr. Orion Stewart, and Dr. Anne Vernez Moudon.