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More PSC brown bags, Fall 2018

The effect of built and social environments on childhood obesity and racial/ethnic disparities in the national Healthy Communities Study

a PSC Research Project [ARCHIVE DISPLAY]

Investigators:   Natalie Colabianchi, Daniel G. Brown, Rebecca Hasson, Brisa N. Sanchez

Childhood obesity is a top public health concern. A large body of literature has supported a relationship between aspects of the built and social environment (BSE) and childhood obesity; however, inconsistent findings are highly prevalent and the majority of evidence has been based on cross-sectional studies. Further, most existing national studies are limited in that they study a narrow age range, do not utilize strong measures of individual outcomes, and/or do not consider community programming and policies in concert with the effects of BSEs. We have an unprecedented opportunity to address these gaps by capitalizing on the Healthy Communities Study: How Communities Shape Children?s Health (HCS). The HCS is a $30 million study of 5,400 children and adolescents in grades K through 8 in 130 communities in the US. The main aim of the HCS is to identify characteristics of community programs and policies that impact childhood obesity. As part of the parent HCS, children and their parent/guardian will complete an in-person survey that includes measured BMI. Historical participant BMI data (up to ten years) will be obtained by medical chart review. In addition, information about current and historical community programs and policies will be obtained from key informant interviews, secondary data sources, and document review. The proposed study?hereafter, referred to as the Healthy Communities Study ? Built and Social Environments (HCS-BSE)?will expand the HCS by examining the effects of BSEs on childhood obesity. Specifically, we will obtain data on a broad range of current and historical BSE characteristics of the HCS communities (i.e., food availability, park availability, food prices, physical activity facilities, land use, street connectivity, and crime) and then spatially link these data to HCS participants. These unique data will permit the testing of numerous novel hypotheses, the results of which will significantly advance our understanding of the effects of BSEs on obesity across a geographically diverse set of 120 communities. Further, these data will permit us to examine whether the relationship between community programs and policies and obesity depends on the BSEs in which these programs take place?a potential key moderating relationship that is not being examined in the parent HCS study. The specific aims of the HCS-BSE study are: 1) to determine the longitudinal relationship between BSEs and BMI; 2) to examine the moderating effects of individual (e.g., age, race) and community (e.g., urbanicity) characteristics on the relationship between BSEs and BMI; and 3) to examine the moderating effects of BSEs on the relationship between community programs and policies and BMI. The HCS-BSE study is a cost-effective study that, when combined with the parent study, will be one of the most comprehensive childhood obesity studies in terms of its size, scale, quality of measures, and potential scientific contribution for understanding childhood obesity prevention

Funding Period: 09/01/2017 to 06/30/2021

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