New Study Examines Time Use, Food Environment, and Food Behaviors Using Multi-Channel Sequence Analysis
A team of researchers led by Bochu Liu with Michael Widener, Lindsey Smith, Steven Farber, Leia Minaker, Zachary Patterson, Kristian Larsen, and Jason Gilliland recently published a study entitled: “Disentangling Time Use, Food Environment, and Food Behaviors Using Multi-Channel Sequence Analysis.”
Geographic access to food retailers has long been considered an important determinant of food-related behaviors. Despite methodological improvements in assessing food environments, their associations with food behaviors have remained inconsistent. The team argues that one possible reason for these inconsistencies is the lack of information about how an individual’s time use dynamics play out in space. To this point, few studies on the combined effects of food geography and time use on food behaviors exist, and methods to achieve such analyses have been underdeveloped.
In this study, the team propose a novel application of multi-channel sequence analysis (MCSA) to identify joint patterns of time use and food-related geographic contexts. They explore how those spatiotemporal patterns are associated with individuals’ food shopping and food-related household chores. This analytical workflow is demonstrated using time use diaries and GPS trajectories collected in Toronto in 2019. This test case identifies spatiotemporal patterns with distinctive characteristics of disaggregated time use and spatial exposure to food retail and finds associations between these distinct space-time patterns and participation in food-related activities.
This application of MCSA affords a promising novel approach for food environment researchers to perform nuanced assessments of the sequenced spatiotemporal contexts in which food-related behaviors occur.
Citation: Bochu Liu, Michael J. Widener, Lindsey G. Smith, Steven Farber, Leia M. Minaker, Zachary Patterson, Kristian Larsen, and Jason Gilliland. “Disentangling Time Use, Food Environment, and Food Behaviors Using Multi-Channel Sequence Analysis.” Geographical Analysis (2021); https://doi.org/10.1111/gean.12305