Obesity and inactivity are significant public health concerns. Environmental variables may have substantial influence on activity patterns of US adolescents and young adults. However, there has been minimal empirical research on the role of physical environment factors in decreasing activity and increasing obesity at the population level. The proposed career development grant will focus on modifiable factors in the physical environment (e.g., public and public gyms, recreation facilities, crime rates) that explain the differential distribution of physical activity and overweight patterns by ethnicity and socioeconomic status. The proposed research will generate and link contemporaneous geographic locations of respondents and, physical environment variables to data from two exceptional and unique longitudinal datasets, the National, Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health and the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults Study.
Specific aims i nclude: 1) the development and validation of new physical environment measures from existing databases that will be linked to respondents' geographic locations and added to both datasets; and 2) the investigation of the effect of physical environment variables on physical activity and overweight patterns of adolescents and young adults to test the hypothesis that environmental and sociodemographic factors predict persistence in patterns of activity and/or overweight prevalence from adolescence to adulthood. The proposed study will make a unique contribution through the innovative use of community-level data linked to individual data and the use of a multidisciplinary approach melding spatial analysis methodologies, such as Geographic Information Systems, with traditional epidemiological methods. The proposed career development award will build the applicant's skills in two areas: sophisticated spatial analysis and longitudinal analysis. These data will develop a research niche in an area that is just beginning to draw attention from public health researchers. The institutional environment, including the UNC School of Public Health and the Carolina Population Center, as well as experts in spatial and longitudinal analysis, will foster collaborative work and develop skills necessary to successfully compete for future research funding.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Research Scientist Development Award - Research & Training (K01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Pediatrics Subcommittee (CHHD)
Program Officer
Casper, Lynne M
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Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
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University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
Schools of Public Health
Chapel Hill
United States
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Duffey, Kiyah J; Steffen, Lyn M; Van Horn, Linda et al. (2012) Dietary patterns matter: diet beverages and cardiometabolic risks in the longitudinal Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) Study. Am J Clin Nutr 95:909-15
Boone-Heinonen, Janne; Gordon-Larsen, Penny; Kiefe, Catarina I et al. (2011) Fast food restaurants and food stores: longitudinal associations with diet in young to middle-aged adults: the CARDIA study. Arch Intern Med 171:1162-70
Zamora, Daisy; Gordon-Larsen, Penny; He, Ka et al. (2011) Are the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans Associated With reduced risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiometabolic risk factors? Twenty-year findings from the CARDIA study. Diabetes Care 34:1183-5
Duffey, Kiyah J; Gordon-Larsen, Penny; Steffen, Lyn M et al. (2010) Drinking caloric beverages increases the risk of adverse cardiometabolic outcomes in the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) Study. Am J Clin Nutr 92:954-9
Hou, Ningqi; Popkin, Barry M; Jacobs Jr, David R et al. (2010) Longitudinal associations between neighborhood-level street network with walking, bicycling, and jogging: the CARDIA study. Health Place 16:1206-15
Zamora, Daisy; Gordon-Larsen, Penny; Jacobs Jr, David R et al. (2010) Diet quality and weight gain among black and white young adults: the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) Study (1985-2005). Am J Clin Nutr 92:784-93
Duffey, Kiyah J; Gordon-Larsen, Penny; Shikany, James M et al. (2010) Food price and diet and health outcomes: 20 years of the CARDIA Study. Arch Intern Med 170:420-6
Lee, Hedwig; Harris, Kathleen Mullan; Gordon-Larsen, Penny (2009) Life Course Perspectives on the Links Between Poverty and Obesity During the Transition to Young Adulthood. Popul Res Policy Rev 28:505-532
Scharoun-Lee, M; Kaufman, J S; Popkin, B M et al. (2009) Obesity, race/ethnicity and life course socioeconomic status across the transition from adolescence to adulthood. J Epidemiol Community Health 63:133-9
Gordon-Larsen, Penny; Boone-Heinonen, Janne; Sidney, Steve et al. (2009) Active commuting and cardiovascular disease risk: the CARDIA study. Arch Intern Med 169:1216-23

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