Mapping spatial variation in food consumption

Kathryn T. Morrison, Trisalyn A. Nelson, Aleck S. Ostry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Data on food consumption trends are often provided nationally and spatial variation in eating habits is difficult to estimate in Canada. Here, we present methods for mapping provincial aspatial food consumption data by accounting for spatial variability in population structure (age and gender). This type of data and analysis could be useful for researchers and policy makers interested in promoting the consumption of locally produced food, as assessing nutritional demand will be a critical first step. We present a method for constructing food consumption estimates for Local Health Areas in British Columbia; however, methods outlined could be applied to other jurisdictions and other units when demographic characteristics are known. Because age and gender impact food consumption, the demographic profile of a given local area will drive food consumption patterns. For instance, among 18-44 year olds, men consume 50% more food than women, but eat 30% fewer fruits and vegetables. Given regional differences in demographic composition, consumption patterns for men and women at different ages have notable spatial variability. Linking aspatial consumption data with demographic data enables mapping spatial variation in food consumption.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1262-1267
Number of pages6
JournalApplied Geography
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Local foods
  • Nutrition survey data
  • Regional consumption mapping
  • Spatial analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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