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Issue addressed: Socio-economic spatial patterning of fast-food outlets can result in disparities in the availability and access of food across geographic areas, contributing to health inequalities. This study investigated whether area-level socio-economic disparities exist in fast-food availability across the Perth metropolitan region of Western Australia. Methods: Fast-food outlet locations were sourced from Perth Local Governments in 2018/2019. All Perth suburbs (n = 328) were allocated a decile ranking based on the Australian Bureau of Statistics Socio-Economic Index for Areas with decile 1 indicating relatively greater disadvantage and decile 10 indicating a relative lack of disadvantage. Zero-inflated negative binomial regression models, adjusted for suburb area and population density, were used to investigate the association between area-level disadvantage decile and availability of fast-food outlets. Results: A socio-economic gradient was identified; for every unit increase in disadvantage decile (ie a reduction in relative disadvantage), the count of fast-food outlets decreased by 6% (P <.01), and the count of the “top ranking” fast-food chains (ie McDonalds, KFC, Hungry Jacks and Red Rooster) decreased by 10% (P <.001). Conclusions: Consistent with evidence internationally and from within Australia, socio-economic spatial patterning of fast-food outlet availability was shown to exist in Perth, with greater fast-food availability in areas with more relative socio-economic disadvantage. So what?: To address health inequities associated with fast-food consumption, policy and practice changes are needed that manage fast-food outlet proliferation in areas of greater socio-economic disadvantage.
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