Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Ananda Ganguly

Terms of Use & License Information

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

Rights Information

© 2016 Andrew P. Atwong


In a time when Americans are waking up to the health consequences of consuming fast food, researchers have discovered that fast food restaurants seem to be located in greater concentrations near primary or secondary schools. While this phenomenon affects the food environments of some children and carries implications as to their short term and long term health (which has also been well researched), this paper focuses primarily on fast food restaurants that are within walking distance of schools. Using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to integrate geospatial, business, demographic, and food quality data, I use linear regressions to examine whether and which fast food restaurants achieve greater sales by being closer to schools. By including an interaction term in my regressions, I find that low-quality, unhealthy fast food restaurants are rewarded with higher sales when in proximity to schools than identical restaurants that are farther away. Conversely, higher-quality fast food establishments actually earn lower sales when in proximity to schools. This paper adds to the existing literature by using fast food sales near schools to infer the dietary choices of children, evaluate the success of location strategies employed by the fast food industry, and offer new insights to public health professionals.