Community Data

This page highlights our collection and analysis of policy and environmental data from communities across the country. To see products from other research activities, click on the "Research" tab above.

Beverage Availability in Food Stores Nationwide

Research Brief

Beverage Availability in Food Stores Nationwide

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Child-Directed Marketing Fast Food

Research Brief

Child-Directed Marketing Within and Around Fast-Food Restaurants

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Bridging the Gap Community Obesity Measures Project

The Bridging the Gap Community Obesity Measures Project (BTG-COMP) focuses on policy and environmental factors at the community level that are likely to be important determinants of healthy eating, physical activity, and obesity among youth. This project builds on BTG's previous community data collection, which was conducted from 1999 to 2003 and focused primarily on tobacco and substance use among youth. The current project also includes a component on the availability and marketing of tobacco products in communities. 

For the purposes of this study, a “community” was defined as the catchment area around a school (i.e., the geographic area from which a school draws its student population). In each year, 2010, 2011 and 2012, local policy and environmental data were collected in a national sample of 150+ communities. In each sampled community, the research involved three major components:

Policy: Collection and coding of county/municipal ordinances, regulations and master plans addressing the nutrition environment and the physical activity environment as well as school district-level wellness policies;

Nutrition: On-site observation of local retail food outlets, including food stores and fast food restaurants; and

Physical Activity: On-site observation of local physical activity settings and assessment of the walkability/bikeability of the community environment.

The research team at the University of Illinois at Chicago leads the BTG-COMP data collection and analysis efforts. These policy and environmental data will be merged with data on youth attitudes and behaviors from the NIDA-funded Monitoring the Future study (administered by the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research), with school policy/practice data, and state policy data to identify possible associations between local/state policies, community environmental factors, and health behaviors and outcomes among youth.

Research Tools

Observational tools used in the Bridging the Gap Community Obesity Measures Project in 2012 are provided below for each of the following:

Food Stores >
Fast Food Restaurants >
Tobacco Stores >
Parks >
Street Segments >
Street Advertising >
Physical Activity Facilities >
School Grounds >


We would appreciate it if you would cite our work in any proposals, manuscripts, etc. where you utilize, adapt, or reference our tools and also send us a copy of any such references incorporating our material. The proper citation is “Bridging the Gap Program, University of Illinois at Chicago” with the appropriate document/material referenced.

Contact Information:

University of Illinois at Chicago

Institute for Health Research and Policy

1747 W. Roosevelt Road

Room 558, M/C 275

Chicago, IL 60608
Telephone: (312) 413-4884