Skip to main content

COVID-19 Resources

What people with cancer should know:

Guidance for cancer researchers:

Get the latest public health information from CDC:

Get the latest research information from NIH:

Grant Details

Grant Number: 5R01CA149105-09 Interpret this number
Primary Investigator: Dubowitz, Tamara
Organization: Rand Corporation
Project Title: Urban Revitalization and Long-Term Effects on Diet, Economic, and Health Outcomes
Fiscal Year: 2020


Project Abstract Improving access to healthful foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains has been an important policy strategy, intended to improve diet and reduce obesity among vulnerable populations. In our parent grant (Does a New Supermarket Improve Dietary Behaviors of Low-income African Americans? R01CA149105), our team capitalized on a natural experiment in which a Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI)-supported full-service supermarket (FSS) was opened in an underserved area. In 2011, we enrolled a cohort (N=1,372) of randomly selected households from an intervention neighborhood (that received the new FSS) and a similar comparison neighborhood and followed the cohort from prior to the FSS’s opening through one year post-opening. We found that intervention neighborhood residents had some dietary improvements – lower added sugars, calories, and saturated fats, alcohols and added sugars (SoFAAS). However, use of the new FSS, the hypothesized mediator, was not associated with dietary changes. The proposed renewal grant seeks to examine whether the socioeconomic impact that the new FSS or anticipation of it and other developments among investors, had on the neighborhood might be responsible for the dietary improvements we observed. It also taps into a new opportunity to examine the effect of much larger ongoing and impending revitalization of the intervention neighborhood on neighborhood socioeconomic conditions and diet. Addressing these research questions will help us to better understand and to replicate the dietary improvements of placing an FSS in a food desert. Results will speak to the substantial literature linking neighborhood socioeconomic conditions, diet, and weight, largely limited to cross-sectional studies. We will also examine the extent to which the dietary improvements we observed in our parent study are maintained, and the pathways by which neighborhood socioeconomic conditions may impact diet. To achieve this, we will obtain and merge secondary retrospective and prospective data concerning neighborhood socioeconomic conditions (NSEC) of the intervention and control neighborhoods with existing survey data and neighborhood audits, and collect two additional waves of survey and audit data capturing the impending major neighborhood revitalization projects that are underway or in development. Data will be analyzed using difference in difference and structural modeling approaches to test the impact of these natural experiments and the hypothesized causal pathway from neighborhood change to dietary improvement. Thus, the proposed renewal will capitalize on our existing data, cohort, and research infrastructure to address critically important follow-on questions and will be the first study, to our knowledge, to test whether SES improvements at the neighborhood and individual level are associated with improved diet and weight status.


Food Insecurity in a Low-Income, Predominantly African American Cohort Following the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Authors: Dubowitz T. , Dastidar M.G. , Troxel W.M. , Beckman R. , Nugroho A. , Siddiqi S. , Cantor J. , Baird M. , Richardson A.S. , Hunter G.P. , et al. .
Source: American journal of public health, 2021 03; 111(3), p. 494-497.
EPub date: 2021-01-21.
PMID: 33476228
Related Citations

Violent crime, police presence and poor sleep in two low-income urban predominantly Black American neighbourhoods.
Authors: Richardson A.S. , Troxel W.M. , Ghosh-Dastidar M. , Hunter G.P. , Beckman R. , Collins R. , Brooks Holliday S. , Nugroho A. , Hale L. , Buysse D.J. , et al. .
Source: Journal of epidemiology and community health, 2021 Jan; 75(1), p. 62-68.
EPub date: 2020-08-26.
PMID: 32847962
Related Citations

Food Insecurity is Associated with Objectively Measured Sleep Problems.
Authors: Troxel W.M. , Haas A. , Ghosh-Dastidar B. , Richardson A.S. , Hale L. , Buysse D.J. , Buman M.P. , Kurka J. , Dubowitz T. .
Source: Behavioral sleep medicine, 2020 Nov-Dec; 18(6), p. 719-729.
EPub date: 2019-09-23.
PMID: 31545653
Related Citations

An audit tool for longitudinal assessment of the health-related characteristics of urban neighborhoods: implementation methods and reliability results.
Authors: Ghosh-Dastidar M. , Hunter G.P. , Sloan J.C. , Collins R.L. , Richardson A.S. , Troxel W. , Colabianchi N. , Dubowitz T. .
Source: BMC public health, 2020-10-07; 20(1), p. 1519.
EPub date: 2020-10-07.
PMID: 33028312
Related Citations

SNAP Participants Improved Food Security And Diet After A Full-Service Supermarket Opened In An Urban Food Desert.
Authors: Cantor J. , Beckman R. , Collins R.L. , Dastidar M.G. , Richardson A.S. , Dubowitz T. .
Source: Health affairs (Project Hope), 2020 08; 39(8), p. 1386-1394.
PMID: 32744934
Related Citations

Broken Windows, Broken Zzs: Poor Housing and Neighborhood Conditions Are Associated with Objective Measures of Sleep Health.
Authors: Troxel W.M. , Haas A. , Ghosh-Dastidar B. , Holliday S.B. , Richardson A.S. , Schwartz H. , Gary-Webb T.L. , Hale L. , Buysse D.J. , Buman M.P. , et al. .
Source: Journal of urban health : bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine, 2020 04; 97(2), p. 230-238.
PMID: 31993870
Related Citations

Attitudes and Barriers to Healthy Diet and Physical Activity: A Latent Profile Analysis.
Authors: Vaughan C.A. , Ghosh-Dastidar M. , Dubowitz T. .
Source: Health education & behavior : the official publication of the Society for Public Health Education, 2018 06; 45(3), p. 381-393.
EPub date: 2017-08-17.
PMID: 28817966
Related Citations

Weight resilience and fruit and vegetable intake among African-American women in an obesogenic environment.
Authors: Parisi S.M. , Bodnar L.M. , Dubowitz T. .
Source: Public health nutrition, 2018 02; 21(2), p. 391-402.
EPub date: 2017-10-10.
PMID: 28994359
Related Citations

Can the introduction of a full-service supermarket in a food desert improve residents' economic status and health?
Authors: Richardson A.S. , Ghosh-Dastidar M. , Beckman R. , Flórez K.R. , DeSantis A. , Collins R.L. , Dubowitz T. .
Source: Annals of epidemiology, 2017 12; 27(12), p. 771-776.
PMID: 29198367
Related Citations

Where do food desert residents buy most of their junk food? Supermarkets.
Authors: Vaughan C.A. , Cohen D.A. , Ghosh-Dastidar M. , Hunter G.P. , Dubowitz T. .
Source: Public health nutrition, 2017 Oct; 20(14), p. 2608-2616.
EPub date: 2016-10-05.
PMID: 27702412
Related Citations

Does opening a supermarket in a food desert change the food environment?
Authors: Ghosh-Dastidar M. , Hunter G. , Collins R.L. , Zenk S.N. , Cummins S. , Beckman R. , Nugroho A.K. , Sloan J.C. , Wagner L. , Dubowitz T. .
Source: Health & place, 2017 07; 46, p. 249-256.
EPub date: 2017-06-22.
PMID: 28648926
Related Citations

Does where you shop or who you are predict what you eat?: The role of stores and individual characteristics in dietary intake.
Authors: Vaughan C.A. , Collins R. , Ghosh-Dastidar M. , Beckman R. , Dubowitz T. .
Source: Preventive medicine, 2017 Jul; 100, p. 10-16.
EPub date: 2017-03-22.
PMID: 28341459
Related Citations

The Power of Place: Social Network Characteristics, Perceived Neighborhood Features, and Psychological Distress Among African Americans in the Historic Hill District in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Authors: Flórez K.R. , Ghosh-Dastidar M.B. , Beckman R. , de la Haye K. , Duru O.K. , Abraído-Lanza A.F. , Dubowitz T. .
Source: American journal of community psychology, 2016 09; 58(1-2), p. 60-8.
EPub date: 2016-09-09.
PMID: 27612324
Related Citations

Diet And Perceptions Change With Supermarket Introduction In A Food Desert, But Not Because Of Supermarket Use.
Authors: Dubowitz T. , Ghosh-Dastidar M. , Cohen D.A. , Beckman R. , Steiner E.D. , Hunter G.P. , Flórez K.R. , Huang C. , Vaughan C.A. , Sloan J.C. , et al. .
Source: Health affairs (Project Hope), 2015 Nov; 34(11), p. 1858-68.
PMID: 26526243
Related Citations

Healthy food access for urban food desert residents: examination of the food environment, food purchasing practices, diet and BMI.
Authors: Dubowitz T. , Zenk S.N. , Ghosh-Dastidar B. , Cohen D.A. , Beckman R. , Hunter G. , Steiner E.D. , Collins R.L. .
Source: Public health nutrition, 2015 Aug; 18(12), p. 2220-30.
EPub date: 2014-12-05.
PMID: 25475559
Related Citations

Associations between depressive symptomatology, diet, and body mass index among participants in the supplemental nutrition assistance program.
Authors: Flórez K.R. , Dubowitz T. , Ghosh-Dastidar M.B. , Beckman R. , Collins R.L. .
Source: Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 2015 Jul; 115(7), p. 1102-8.
EPub date: 2015-03-10.
PMID: 25769748
Related Citations

Store Impulse Marketing Strategies and Body Mass Index.
Authors: Cohen D.A. , Collins R. , Hunter G. , Ghosh-Dastidar B. , Dubowitz T. .
Source: American journal of public health, 2015 Jul; 105(7), p. 1446-52.
EPub date: 2014-12-18.
PMID: 25521881
Related Citations

Using a Grocery List Is Associated With a Healthier Diet and Lower BMI Among Very High-Risk Adults.
Authors: Dubowitz T. , Cohen D.A. , Huang C.Y. , Beckman R.A. , Collins R.L. .
Source: Journal of nutrition education and behavior, 2015 May-Jun; 47(3), p. 259-64.
PMID: 25959448
Related Citations

A natural experiment opportunity in two low-income urban food desert communities: research design, community engagement methods, and baseline results.
Authors: Dubowitz T. , Ncube C. , Leuschner K. , Tharp-Gilliam S. .
Source: Health education & behavior : the official publication of the Society for Public Health Education, 2015 Apr; 42(1 Suppl), p. 87S-96S.
PMID: 25829122
Related Citations

Distance to store, food prices, and obesity in urban food deserts.
Authors: Ghosh-Dastidar B. , Cohen D. , Hunter G. , Zenk S.N. , Huang C. , Beckman R. , Dubowitz T. .
Source: American journal of preventive medicine, 2014 Nov; 47(5), p. 587-95.
EPub date: 2014-09-10.
PMID: 25217097
Related Citations

Are our actions aligned with our evidence? The skinny on changing the landscape of obesity.
Authors: Dubowitz T. , Ghosh-Dastidar M.B. , Steiner E. , Escarce J.J. , Collins R.L. .
Source: Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.), 2013 Mar; 21(3), p. 419-20.
PMID: 23592652
Related Citations

Food policy research: we need better measurement, better study designs, and reasonable and measured actions based on the available evidence.
Authors: Dubowitz T. , Ghosh-Dastidar M.B. , Collins R. , Escarce J. .
Source: Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.), 2013 Jan; 21(1), p. 5-6.
EPub date: 2012-12-27.
PMID: 23401168
Related Citations

Back to Top