Childhood obesity is one of the most pressing public health issues nowadays. The environmental factors have been identified as potential risks for obesity, as they may influence people's lifestyle behaviours. Lack of access to supermarkets that usually provide healthy food options has been found to be a risk factor for childhood obesity in several studies. However, findings remained inconclusive. We aimed to systematically review the association between access to supermarkets and childhood obesity. A literature search was conducted in the Cochrane Library, PubMed, Web of Science, and Embase for studies published before 1 January 2019. Twenty-four studies conducted in four countries were identified, from which data on the basic characteristics of studies and participants, measures of access to supermarkets, and associations between access to supermarkets and weight-related behaviours and outcomes were extracted. The median sample size was 1858 participants. Half of the included studies indicated a negative association, one fourth reported a positive association, and the remaining one fourth did not find a significant association. Better designed studies are necessary to achieve a robust understanding of this epidemiological relationship in the future.
- food environment