Influences on Diet and Stress Across Space and Time

A Contextual Perspective
  • Daniel Kim
  • Ichiro Kawachi
Part of the Nutrition and Health book series (NH)


Health behaviors may be significantly influenced by contexts across both space and time. In the case of temporal context, for example, in 1977–1978 the average caloric intake in Americans aged 2 yr and older was estimated at 1791 kcal/d after adjusting for age group, sex, education level, race/ethnicity, household size, region, urban classification, and % poverty. By 1994–1996, the same statistic had grown to 1985 kcal/d, with significant increases in caloric intakes being observed across all age groups (Nielsen, Siega-Riz, & Popkin, 2002). Spatial context also appears to matter for health outcomes. For instance, the prevalence of low birthweight varies dramatically according to place of residence, even among genetically similar populations. The distribution of birthweights among infants of US-born black women has been shown to differ significantly (i.e., with a significantly lower mean and higher prevalences of low-birthweight babies) from the distributions for African-born black women and US-born white women (Fig. 1). Such marked variations within population subgroups suggest the presence of the effects of physical and/or social contexts on individual health over pure genetic/biological explanations.


Social Capital Income Inequality Census Tract Soft Drink Spatial Context 
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Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc., Totowa, NJ 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel Kim
    • 1
  • Ichiro Kawachi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Society, Human Development, and HealthHarvard School of Public HealthBoston

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