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Grant Details

Grant Number: 5R01CA228147-02 Interpret this number
Primary Investigator: Benmarhnia, Tarik
Organization: University Of California, San Diego
Project Title: Integrating Novel Gis and Gps Data to Assess the Impact of Built Environments on Changes in Bmi, Physical Activity and Cancer-Related Biomarkers in Two Successful Weight Loss Interventions in Women at
Fiscal Year: 2020


In 2018, 266,120 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected. The Breast Cancer and Environment Research Program, funded by NIEHS and NCI, identified a need to better understand environmental exposures to inform cancer prevention efforts. Further, Just in Time Adaptive Interventions (JITAIs) employ temporal and spatial cues to prompt behavior change, but little is known about spatial predictors of behaviors at the minute level and beyond home neighborhoods. Two successful weight loss trials in women at risk for breast cancer, conducted in harmony under the NCI-funded Transdisciplinary Research and Energetics in Cancer Center, offer a unique opportunity to examine the health impacts of changing environmental exposures in a heterogeneous sample. One trial focused on older breast cancer survivors, the other on women across the age range at increased breast cancer risk due to their obesity status. The studies included numerous identical measures at baseline and 6 months, including biomarkers, GPS and accelerometer measurements, and perceived environment surveys. We propose to investigate the relationship between minute level objective GIS measured walkability, greenspace, pollution and food environments and changes in BMI, physical activity (PA), and cancer related biomarkers. Few studies have assessed the impact of the built environment on weight loss interventions using objective daily measures, and none included biomarkers of cancer risk. Further, no studies have employed novel GPS measures of total environment exposure that can change as behaviors change in an intervention. Assessing the effects of built environments on intervention outcomes and investigating changes in exposure over time will provide more causal evidence to inform the policy agenda. Most data on built environment and health are cross sectional. We need longitudinal, causal evidence to support policy changes in urban design that will have lasting impact on large population groups and those at risk, recommended by the WHO, IOM and CDC. In addition, we will use estimates of exposure change from the current study to simulate the potential impact of JITAIs and to identify decision points, decision rules and tailoring variables for future interventions. The current study will geocode each GPS coordinate (42 million), integrate built environment data on walkability, greenspace, pollution and food environments in GIS using validated integrated data analysis techniques, and investigate whether the environment influences changes in biomarkers, BMI and PA. The Ecological model posits that factors at the individual, interpersonal, and community level can influence behavior and health. These analyses will assess the multi-level predictors, while adjusting for interpersonal and individual covariates. Results will be disseminated to existing community partners from cancer, aging and transportation planning to inform local advocacy efforts. This study will also inform future RCTs controlling for individual and environmental predictors at baseline and inform JITAIs by developing and testing minute level spatial, temporal and behavioral rules.


Designing and Evaluating a Hierarchical Framework for Matching Food Outlets across Multi-sourced Geospatial Datasets: a Case Study of San Diego County.
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PMID: 38167974
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Aircraft and road traffic noise, insulin resistance, and diabetes: The role of neighborhood socioeconomic status in San Diego County.
Authors: Letellier N. , Yang J.A. , Cavaill├Ęs C. , Casey J.A. , Carrasco-Escobar G. , Zamora S. , Jankowska M.M. , Benmarhnia T. .
Source: Environmental pollution (Barking, Essex : 1987), 2023-10-15; 335, p. 122277.
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Immortal Time Bias With Time-Varying Exposures in Environmental Epidemiology: A Case Study in Lung Cancer Survival.
Authors: Sheridan P. , Chen C. , Thompson C.A. , Benmarhnia T. .
Source: American journal of epidemiology, 2023-10-10; 192(10), p. 1754-1762.
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The Burden of Wildfire Smoke on Respiratory Health in California at the Zip Code Level: Uncovering the Disproportionate Impacts of Differential Fine Particle Composition.
Authors: Darling R. , Hansen K. , Aguilera R. , Basu R. , Benmarhnia T. , Letellier N. .
Source: GeoHealth, 2023 Oct; 7(10), p. e2023GH000884.
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Accounting for space, time, and behavior using GPS derived dynamic measures of environmental exposure.
Authors: Jankowska M.M. , Yang J.A. , Luo N. , Spoon C. , Benmarhnia T. .
Source: Health & place, 2023 Jan; 79, p. 102706.
EPub date: 2021-11-18.
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How do environmental characteristics jointly contribute to cardiometabolic health? A quantile g-computation mixture analysis.
Authors: Letellier N. , Zamora S. , Yang J.A. , Sears D.D. , Jankowska M.M. , Benmarhnia T. .
Source: Preventive medicine reports, 2022 Dec; 30, p. 102005.
EPub date: 2022-09-26.
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Authors: Letellier N. , Gutierrez L.A. , Duchesne J. , Chen C. , Ilango S. , Helmer C. , Berr C. , Mortamais M. , Benmarhnia T. .
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The Role of Neighborhood Air Pollution Exposure on Somatic Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Mutations in the Los Angeles Basin (2013-2018).
Authors: Letellier N. , Wing S.E. , Yang J.A. , Gray S.W. , Benmarhnia T. , Erhunmwunsee L. , Jankowska M.M. .
Source: International journal of environmental research and public health, 2022-09-03; 19(17), .
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Endothelial-derived cardiovascular disease-related microRNAs elevated with prolonged sitting pattern among postmenopausal women.
Authors: Chang Y.J. , Tuz-Zahra F. , Godbole S. , Avitia Y. , Bellettiere J. , Rock C.L. , Jankowska M.M. , Allison M.A. , Dunstan D.W. , Rana B. , et al. .
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Device-Measured and Self-Reported Active Travel Associations with Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors in an Ethnically Diverse Sample of Adults.
Authors: Crist K. , Benmarhnia T. , Zamora S. , Yang J.A. , Sears D.D. , Natarajan L. , Dillon L. , Sallis J.F. , Jankowska M.M. .
Source: International journal of environmental research and public health, 2021-04-08; 18(8), .
EPub date: 2021-04-08.
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Wildfire smoke impacts respiratory health more than fine particles from other sources: observational evidence from Southern California.
Authors: Aguilera R. , Corringham T. , Gershunov A. , Benmarhnia T. .
Source: Nature communications, 2021-03-05; 12(1), p. 1493.
EPub date: 2021-03-05.
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Long-Term Exposure to Ambient Air Pollution and Cognitive Function Among Hispanic/Latino Adults in San Diego, California.
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Total Sitting Time and Sitting Pattern in Postmenopausal Women Differ by Hispanic Ethnicity and are Associated With Cardiometabolic Risk Biomarkers.
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