Our Work

Seattle Obesity Study II: A Longitudinal Study on 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. All study participants provided data on shopping patterns, away from home foods, availability and accessibility of preferred foods, participation in food assistance programs, and potential financial and psychosocial barriers to dietary change. Questions on sensory acceptability and satisfaction with the diet were based on those developed for the USDA’s Thrifty Food Plan.

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 Institutes of Health


Adam Drewnowksi

Project Coordinator


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

Brett Carter, MS

Project Period

March 1, 2011 – February 28, 2015

Project Status


Project Contact

Adam Drewnowski