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Grant Details

Grant Number: 1R01CA281042-01 Interpret this number
Primary Investigator: Shier, Victoria
Organization: University Of Southern California
Project Title: Redeveloping Low-Income Communities of Color: Impacts on Residents' Obesity and Related Health Behaviors
Fiscal Year: 2023


Project Summary Socioeconomic and racial-ethnic inequalities in obesity are well documented in the literature. It is vital to understand the determinants of these disparities in obesity, as obesity is linked to increased risk for many other health outcomes including cancer, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, stroke, asthma, and early mortality. It is suggested that these disparities are due, to some extent, to the built and natural environments as well as in housing quality in the communities where low-income and minority populations live. However, it is unclear as to the extent to which health disparities can be reduced by improving housing and neighborhood environments, e.g., by improving walkability, green space, healthy food access, safety, and air quality, in low- income minority communities. To address this research gap, we propose to study a time-sensitive natural experiment that will ultimately significantly improve opportunities for health by altering the built-environment and housing quality in a low-income urban community. The Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles is planning to redevelop the Rancho San Pedro (hereafter, Rancho) community, an obsolete 478-unit public housing project located next to the Port of Los Angeles. The redevelopment will build new housing for existing residents, add additional units for affordable housing, mixed-income housing and homeownership units, provide several opportunities for healthier lifestyles via parks, green spaces, jogging trails, community gardens, street lighting, and retail space, and create housing and built environment enhancements that will reduce air pollution exposure from the Port. Current Rancho residents will continue to live in existing housing during the redevelopment, and as a result, residents will experience construction-related disruption (loss of greenspace and walkability, noise and air pollution). Our goal is to study the effects of these short-term disruptions on residents’ BMI and related health outcomes (e.g., cardiovascular, asthma exacerbation). We will do this by following a cohort of residents of Rancho and a control public housing site. In Aim 1, we will examine the short- term impact of the Rancho public housing redevelopment on residents’ BMI and related health outcomes. In Aim 2, we will unpack the potential mechanisms for the observed change in health outcomes to investigate both why and how observed changes occur. Finally, in Aim 3, we will explore moderating effects by time- activity patterns, socio-demographics, and health status to understand for whom and under what circumstances changes were observed.



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