Worldwide, approximately 31% of adults and 80% of adolescents (13-15 years of age) are physically inactive.1 Across countries and even within countries, disparities exist in the prevalence of physical inactivity.1,2 In the US, rates are highest among women and racial/ethnic minorities.3 Reasons for these disparities are unknown but studies show that physical activity (PA) is influenced by factors at the individual-, social-, and environmental-levels, as posited by ecological models of health behavior4. To date, most ecological studies of PA have focused on associations of factors at a single level of influence, while few have tested interactions across levels (e.g., between factors at the social- and environmental-levels). Evidence of cross-level interactions in diverse settings and populations may help explain some of the variations observed in the associations between environmental factors and PA. Furthermore, while multilevel interventions for increasing PA are becoming more available, few studies have examined intervention-mediated effects via changes to targeted environmental constructs. Mediation analyses using longitudinal data can help advance understanding of mechanisms of PA behavior change in the context of a multilevel intervention. The proposed research can help address the aforementioned knowledge gaps in PA research. Analyses will use data collected among adults in the International Prevalence Study on Physical Activity, US adolescents in the Teen Environment and Neighborhood study, and a cohort of Latina women participating in a PA multilevel intervention - Faith in Action.
The Specific Aims are to: 1) Assess interactions between socio-demographic and perceived environmental factors on reported total PA among an international sample of urban adults; 2) Test interactions between psychosocial and objectively-assessed environmental factors on reported active travel to/from school and neighborhood leisure-time PA among US adolescents; and 3) Examine the effects of a multilevel intervention on perceived environmental constructs and whether changes to these constructs predict changes in Latinas' accelerometer-assessed and reported leisure-time moderate-to-vigorous PA at 12- and 24-months post-intervention. The proposed Specific Aims are consistent with the goals of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and relate to NCI's scope of work in cancer prevention population-based research and environmental epidemiology. To accomplish the proposed research, the applicant will execute a training plan that enhances her knowledge and skills in health behavior theories and research, physical activity epidemiology and cancer prevention research, study design and data analyses, and a wide range of built environment measures. The applicant will conduct the proposed research with support from a dedicated mentorship team in a resource-rich environment at the University of California, San Diego and San Diego State University. Upon successful completion of this fellowship, the applicant will be well prepared to meet her long- term goals of becoming an independent researcher in PA promotion and cancer prevention.

Public Health Relevance

This project will enhance understanding of ecological models of physical activity, specifically by identifying important moderators and mediators of physical activity among adult and adolescent populations. Understanding interactions across levels of influence of the ecological model of physical activity (i.e., moderator effects) can lead to more targeted interventions to promote physical activity, while evidence of intervention-mediated effects via environmental constructs can enhance understanding of mechanisms of behavior change and identify aspects of an intervention that work/do not work at changing physical activity behaviors. Overall, this research has the potential to inform future multilevel interventions to promote population levels of physical activity.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Predoctoral Individual National Research Service Award (F31)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1)
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Mcneil, Nicole E
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San Diego State University
Public Health & Prev Medicine
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San Diego
United States
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Perez, L G; Elder, J P; Haughton, J et al. (2018) Socio-demographic Moderators of Associations Between Psychological Factors and Latinas' Breast Cancer Screening Behaviors. J Immigr Minor Health 20:823-830
Serrano, Natalicio; Perez, Lilian G; Carlson, Jordan et al. (2018) Sub-population differences in the relationship between the neighborhood environment and Latinas' daily walking and vehicle time. J Transp Health 8:210-219
Perez, L G; Conway, T L; Arredondo, E M et al. (2017) Where and when adolescents are physically active: Neighborhood environment and psychosocial correlates and their interactions. Prev Med 105:337-344
Elder, J P; Haughton, J; Perez, L G et al. (2017) Promoting cancer screening among churchgoing Latinas: Fe en Acción/faith in action. Health Educ Res 32:163-173
Arredondo, Elva M; Elder, John P; Haughton, Jessica et al. (2017) Fe en Acción: Promoting Physical Activity Among Churchgoing Latinas. Am J Public Health 107:1109-1115