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Community Influences on Health Behavior —

Exploratory Study of Environmental Effects on Activity/Overweight in Older Women


NIH Sponsored Research

in collaboration with

Harvard School of Public Health and the

Department of Health and Kinesiology at Purdue University


Our aim is to develop measures of the built environment for older women in the Nurses Health Study (NHS) and to assess the effects of these factors on physical activity, BMI, overweight, and obesity. A key goal of this study is the development of methods that can be used in future prospective studies that may help elucidate causal pathways between the built environment and physical activity and obesity. 


Specific aims are:


develop household-level objective measures of the built environment for 30,000 NHS participants in three states and examine cross-sectional associations with physical activity and weight-related outcomes;


measure perceptions of neighborhood environment in a sub-sample of 3800 women in three states and assess associations between perceived and objective environmental measures and key outcomes; and


pilot test the use of high-resolution orthophotographs to develop several micro-scale measures of the built environment.


Research Team

Phil Troped– Purdue

Eran Ben-Joseph– MIT

Francine Laden– Harvard
JoAnn Manson – Harvard
Angie Cradock – Harvard
Steven Melly – Harvard

Robin Puett – Harvard
Ellen Cromley _ UConn