Our Work

Seattle Obesity Study I: Food Environment, Diet Quality & Disparities in Obesity

This multi-state project explored the relationship between dietary energy density, diet costs, and actual food expenditures in two groups: 120 middle-income men and women in Seattle and 120 low-income women from four California counties. Studies in Seattle developed a new tool to estimate individual diet costs, using local supermarket prices, California food prices and mean national food prices for some 400 foods, as estimated by the Economic Research Service of the USDA. 

The study goal was to develop ways to offer dietary advice that takes food preferences, usual eating habits, and financial limitations into account. Helping low-income consumers obtain high-quality diets at an affordable cost may be the key strategy for stemming the obesity epidemic among the disadvantaged groups.


National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

Principal Investigator

Adam Drewnowski

Project Coordinator

Anju Aggarwal

Project Team

Adam Drewnowski, PhD

Anne Vernez Moudon, Dr es Sc

David Arterburn, MD, MPH

Andrea Cook, PhD, MS

Pablo Monsivais, PhD, MS

Phil Hurvitz, PhD

Anju Aggarwal, PhD, MSc 

Project Period 

March 1, 2008 – February 28, 2011

Grant # 

NIDDK R01DK076608

Project Status



Adam Drewnowski at adamdrew@uw.edu or (206) 543-8016

Obesity and Supermarket Access: Proximity or Price?
Drewnowski A, Aggarwal A, Hurvitz PM, Monsivais P, Vernez Moudon A.
Amer J Pub Health. 2012.300660.full paper

Nutrient Intakes Linked to Better Health Outcomes Are Associated with Higher Diet Costs in the US
Aggarwal A, Monsivais P, Drewnowski A.
PLoS One. 2012;7(5):e37533. Epub 2012 May 25. full paper

Residential property values are associated with obesity among women in King County, WA, USA
Rehm CD, Moudon AV, Hurvitz PM, Drewnowski A.
Soc Sci Med, 2012 Apr 26. abstract

Following federal guidelines to increase nutrient consumption may lead to higher food costs for consumers
Monsivais P, Aggarwal A, Drewnowski A.
Health Aff (Millwood). 2011 Aug 3. abstract

A neighborhood wealth metric for use in health studies
Vernez Moudon A, Cook AJ, Ulmer J, Hurvitz PM, Drewnowski A.
Am J Prev Med. 2011 Jul;41(1):88-97. doi:10.1017/.2011. abstract

Does diet cost mediate the relation between socioeconomic position and diet quality?
Aggarwal A, Monsivais P, Cook AJ, Drewnowski A.
European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 11 May 2011; doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2011.72 full paper

Energy allowances for solid fats and added sugars in nutritionally adequate U.S. diets estimated at 17-33% by a linear programming model
Maillot M, Drewnowski A.
J Nutr. 2011 Feb;141(2):333-40. abstract

Grocery Shopping: How Individuals and Built Environments Influence Choice of Travel Mode
Jiao J, Moudon AV, Drewnowski A.
Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board,
No. 2230, Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, Washington,
D.C., 2011, pp. 85–95. full text

Are socio-economic disparities in diet quality explained by diet cost?
Monsivais P, Aggarwal A, Drewnowski A.
J Epidemiol Community Health. 2010 Dec 10. Abstract

Cost of US foods as related to their nutritive value
Drewnowski A.
Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 Nov;92(5):1181-8.  abstract

The Supermarket Gap: How to Ensure Equitable Access to Affordable, Healthy Foods
Drewnowski A, Aggarwal A, Moudon AV.
UW Center for Public Health Nutrition Research Brief. May 2010:1-4. research brief

Are the lowest-cost healthful food plans culturally and socially acceptable?
Maillot M, Darmon N, Drewnowski A.
Public Health Nutrition. 2010 Aug;13(8):1178-85. abstract | full text

Arterial roads and area socioeconomic status are predictors of fast food restaurant density in King County, WA
Hurvitz PM, Moudon AV, Rehm CD, Streichert LC, Drewnowski A.
Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2009 Jul 24;6:46. abstract | full text