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A matched analysis of the association between federally-mandated smoke-free housing policies and health outcomes among Medicaid-enrolled children in subsidized housing, 2015-2019, New York City

Titus, Andrea R; Mijanovich, Tod N; Terlizzi, Kelly; Ellen, Ingrid G; Anastasiou, Elle; Shelley, Donna; Wyka, Katarzyna; Elbel, Brian; Thorpe, Lorna E
Smoke-free housing policies are intended to reduce the deleterious health effects of secondhand smoke (SHS) exposure, but there is limited evidence regarding their health impacts. We examined associations between implementation of a federal smoke-free housing rule by the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) and pediatric Medicaid claims for asthma, lower respiratory infections (LRIs), and upper respiratory infections (URIs) in the early post-policy period. We used geocoded address data to match children living in tax lots with NYCHA buildings (exposed to policy) to children living in lots with other subsidized housing (unexposed to policy). We constructed longitudinal difference-in-differences models to assess relative changes in monthly rates of claims between November 1, 2015 and December 31, 2019 (policy introduction was July 30, 2018). We also examined effect modification by baseline age group (0-2, 3-6, 7-15). In NYC, introduction of a smoke-free policy was not associated with lower rates of Medicaid claims for any outcomes in the early post-policy period. Exposure to the smoke-free policy was associated with slightly higher than expected rates of outpatient URI claims (IRR=1.05, 95% CI=1.01, 1.08), a result most pronounced among children ages 3-6. Ongoing monitoring is essential to understanding long-term health impacts of smoke-free housing policies.
PMID: 35551590
ISSN: 1476-6256
CID: 5214782

Association Between a Policy to Subsidize Supermarkets in Underserved Areas and Childhood Obesity Risk

Rummo, Pasquale; Sze, Jeremy; Elbel, Brian
Importance/UNASSIGNED:The establishment and renovation of supermarkets may promote healthy diet practices among youth by increasing retail infrastructure for fresh foods. Objective/UNASSIGNED:To estimate the association between the Food Retail Expansion to Support Health (FRESH) program and the weight status of children and adolescents. Design, Setting, and Participants/UNASSIGNED:Using a difference-in-differences (DiD) design and including 12 months before and after a FRESH supermarket opened, data were analyzed for residentially stable public school students in kindergarten through 12th grade with objectively measured height and weight data from the academic years 2009 through 2016. Of the 8 FRESH-subsidized supermarkets in residential neighborhoods in New York City, New York, 5 were new and 3 were renovation projects between December 2011 and June 2014. Data were analyzed from June 2021 to January 2022. Interventions/UNASSIGNED:The treatment group included students who resided within 0.50 miles of a FRESH-subsidized supermarket and had at least 1 body mass index (BMI) measurement within 12 months before and 3 to 12 months after the month a FRESH supermarket opened (n = 22 712 student-year observations). A 2-stage matching-weighting approach was used to construct a control group of students who resided more than 0.50 miles from a FRESH supermarket in a FRESH-eligible area (n = 86 744 student-year observations). Main Outcomes and Measures/UNASSIGNED:BMI z score was calculated using objectively measured height and weight data from FITNESSGRAM, an annual, school-based, standardized fitness assessment of every New York City public school student. Obesity was defined as 95th percentile or greater of the BMI z score using Centers for Disease Control and Prevention growth charts. Results/UNASSIGNED:The treatment group in the analytic sample had 11 356 students (22 712 student-year observations), and the control group had 43 372 students (86 744 student-year observations). The students were predominately Black (18.8%) and Hispanic and Latino (68.5%) and eligible for free or reduced-priced lunch (84.6%). There was a significant decrease in BMI z score among students who resided within 0.50 miles of a FRESH supermarket (vs control group students) in the 3- to 12-month follow-up period (DiD, -0.04; 95% CI, -0.06 to -0.02). This was true for those exposed to supermarkets that were either new (DiD, -0.07; 95% CI, -0.11 to -0.03) or renovated (DiD, -0.03; 95% CI, -0.06 to -0.01). A statistically significant decrease was also observed in the likelihood of obesity (DiD, -0.01; 95% CI, -0.02 to -0.002). Conclusions and Relevance/UNASSIGNED:Government-subsidized supermarkets may contribute to a small decrease in obesity risk among children residing near those supermarkets, if part of a comprehensive policy approach.
PMID: 35532919
ISSN: 2168-6211
CID: 5214122

Promoting healthy eating in Latin American restaurants: a qualitative survey of views held by owners and staff

Fuster, Melissa; Abreu-Runkle, Rosa; Handley, Margaret A; Rose, Donald; Rodriguez, Michelle A; Dimond, Emily G; Elbel, Brian; Huang, Terry T K
BACKGROUND:Restaurants, particularly independently-owned ones that serve immigrant communities, are important community institutions in the promotion of dietary health. Yet, these restaurants remain under-researched, preventing meaningful collaborations with the public health sector for healthier community food environments. This research aimed to examine levels of acceptability of healthy eating promotion strategies (HEPS) in independently-owned Latin American restaurants (LARs) and identify resource needs for implementing HEPS in LARs. METHODS:We completed semi-structured, online discussions with LAR owners and staff (n = 20), predominantly from New York City (NYC), to examine current engagement, acceptability, potential barriers, and resource needs for the implementation of HEPS. Verbatim transcripts were analyzed independently by two coders using Dedoose, applying sentiment weighting to denote levels of acceptability for identified HEPS (1 = low, 2 = medium/neutral, 3 = high). Content analysis was used to examine factors associated with HEPS levels of acceptability and resource needs, including the influence of the Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19). RESULTS:The most acceptable HEPS was menu highlights of healthier items (mean rating = 2.8), followed by promotion of healthier items (mean rating = 2.7), increasing healthy offerings (mean rating = 2.6), nutrition information on the menu (mean rating = 2.3), and reduced portions (mean rating = 1.7). Acceptability was associated with factors related to perceived demand, revenue, and logistical constraints. COVID-19 had a mixed influence on HEPS engagement and acceptability. Identified resource needs to engage in HEPS included nutrition knowledge, additional expertise (e.g., design, social media, culinary skills), and assistance with food suppliers and other restaurant operational logistics. Respondents also identified potential policy incentives. CONCLUSIONS:LARs can positively influence eating behaviors but doing so requires balancing public health goals and business profitability. LARs also faced various constraints that require different levels of assistance and resources, underscoring the need for innovative engagement approaches, including incentives, to promote these changes.
PMID: 35477376
ISSN: 1471-2458
CID: 5217002

Neighborhood Socioeconomic Environment and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes: Associations and Mediation Through Food Environment Pathways in Three Independent Study Samples

Thorpe, Lorna E; Adhikari, Samrachana; Lopez, Priscilla; Kanchi, Rania; McClure, Leslie A; Hirsch, Annemarie G; Howell, Carrie R; Zhu, Aowen; Alemi, Farrokh; Rummo, Pasquale; Ogburn, Elizabeth L; Algur, Yasemin; Nordberg, Cara M; Poulsen, Melissa N; Long, Leann; Carson, April P; DeSilva, Shanika A; Meeker, Melissa; Schwartz, Brian S; Lee, David C; Siegel, Karen R; Imperatore, Giuseppina; Elbel, Brian
OBJECTIVE:We examined whether relative availability of fast-food restaurants and supermarkets mediates the association between worse neighborhood socioeconomic conditions and risk of developing type 2 diabetes (T2D). RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS/METHODS:As part of the Diabetes Location, Environmental Attributes, and Disparities Network, three academic institutions used harmonized environmental data sources and analytic methods in three distinct study samples: (1) the Veterans Administration Diabetes Risk (VADR) cohort, a national administrative cohort of 4.1 million diabetes-free veterans developed using electronic health records (EHRs); (2) Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS), a longitudinal, epidemiologic cohort with Stroke Belt region oversampling (N = 11,208); and (3) Geisinger/Johns Hopkins University (G/JHU), an EHR-based, nested case-control study of 15,888 patients with new-onset T2D and of matched control participants in Pennsylvania. A census tract-level measure of neighborhood socioeconomic environment (NSEE) was developed as a community type-specific z-score sum. Baseline food-environment mediators included percentages of (1) fast-food restaurants and (2) food retail establishments that are supermarkets. Natural direct and indirect mediating effects were modeled; results were stratified across four community types: higher-density urban, lower-density urban, suburban/small town, and rural. RESULTS:Across studies, worse NSEE was associated with higher T2D risk. In VADR, relative availability of fast-food restaurants and supermarkets was positively and negatively associated with T2D, respectively, whereas associations in REGARDS and G/JHU geographies were mixed. Mediation results suggested that little to none of the NSEE-diabetes associations were mediated through food-environment pathways. CONCLUSIONS:Worse neighborhood socioeconomic conditions were associated with higher T2D risk, yet associations are likely not mediated through food-environment pathways.
PMID: 35104336
ISSN: 1935-5548
CID: 5153512

Impact of land use and food environment on risk of type 2 diabetes: A national study of veterans, 2008-2018

India-Aldana, Sandra; Kanchi, Rania; Adhikari, Samrachana; Lopez, Priscilla; Schwartz, Mark D; Elbel, Brian D; Rummo, Pasquale E; Meeker, Melissa A; Lovasi, Gina S; Siegel, Karen R; Chen, Yu; Thorpe, Lorna E
BACKGROUND:Large-scale longitudinal studies evaluating influences of the built environment on risk for type 2 diabetes (T2D) are scarce, and findings have been inconsistent. OBJECTIVE:To evaluate whether land use environment (LUE), a proxy of neighborhood walkability, is associated with T2D risk across different US community types, and to assess whether the association is modified by food environment. METHODS:The Veteran's Administration Diabetes Risk (VADR) study is a retrospective cohort of diabetes-free US veteran patients enrolled in VA primary care facilities nationwide from January 1, 2008, to December 31, 2016, and followed longitudinally through December 31, 2018. A total of 4,096,629 patients had baseline addresses available in electronic health records that were geocoded and assigned a census tract-level LUE score. LUE scores were divided into quartiles, where a higher score indicated higher neighborhood walkability levels. New diagnoses for T2D were identified using a published computable phenotype. Adjusted time-to-event analyses using piecewise exponential models were fit within four strata of community types (higher-density urban, lower-density urban, suburban/small town, and rural). We also evaluated effect modification by tract-level food environment measures within each stratum. RESULTS:In adjusted analyses, higher LUE had a protective effect on T2D risk in rural and suburban/small town communities (linear quartile trend test p-value <0.001). However, in lower density urban communities, higher LUE increased T2D risk (linear quartile trend test p-value <0.001) and no association was found in higher density urban communities (linear quartile trend test p-value = 0.317). Particularly strong protective effects were observed for veterans living in suburban/small towns with more supermarkets and more walkable spaces (p-interaction = 0.001). CONCLUSION/CONCLUSIONS:Among veterans, LUE may influence T2D risk, particularly in rural and suburban communities. Food environment may modify the association between LUE and T2D.
PMID: 35337829
ISSN: 1096-0953
CID: 5200742

Sugar-sweetened beverage purchases and intake at event arenas with and without a portion size cap

Volger, Sheri; Parrott, James Scott; Elbel, Brian; John, Leslie; Block, Jason P; Rothpletz-Puglia, Pamela; Roberto, Christina A
This is the first real-world study to examine the association between a voluntary 16-ounce (oz) portion-size cap on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) at a sporting arena on volume of SSBs and food calories purchased and consumed during basketball games. Cross-sectional survey data from adults exiting a Brooklyn, NY, USA arena (Barclays, n = 464) with a 16-oz portion-size restriction and a Manhattan, NY, USA arena with no portion-size restriction (Madison Square Garden, control, n = 295) after the portion cap policy was put in place from March through June 2014 were analyzed. Linear regression models adjusting for sex, age, BMI, ethnicity, race, marital status, education, and income were used to compare the two arenas during the post-implementation period. The survey response rate was 45.9% and equivalent between venues. Among all arena goers, participants at Barclays purchased significantly fewer SSB oz (-2.24 oz, 95% CI [-3.95, -0.53], p = .010) and consumed significantly fewer SSB oz (-2.34 oz, 95% CI[-4.01, -0.68], p = .006) compared with MSG after adjusting for covariates. Among those buying at least one SSB, Barclays' participants purchased on average 11.03 fewer SSB oz. (95% CI = [4.86, 17.21], p < .001) and consumed 12.10 fewer SSB oz (95% CI = [5.78, 18.42], p < .001). There were no statistically significant differences between arenas in food calories and event satisfaction. In addition, no one reported not ordering a drink due to small size. An SSB portion-size cap was associated with purchasing and consuming fewer SSB oz. without evidence of decreasing satisfaction with the event experience.
PMID: 35127348
ISSN: 2211-3355
CID: 5153042

Integrating Financial Coaching and Referrals into a Smoking Cessation Program for Low-income Smokers: a Randomized Waitlist Control Trial

Rogers, Erin S; Rosen, Marc I; Elbel, Brian; Wang, Binhuan; Kyanko, Kelly; Vargas, Elizabeth; Wysota, Christina N; Sherman, Scott E
BACKGROUND:Financial distress is a barrier to cessation among low-income smokers. OBJECTIVE:To evaluate an intervention that integrated financial coaching and benefits referrals into a smoking cessation program for low-income smokers. DESIGN/METHODS:Randomized waitlist control trial conducted from 2017 to 2019. PARTICIPANTS/METHODS:Adult New York City residents were eligible if they reported past 30-day cigarette smoking, had income below 200% of the federal poverty level, spoke English or Spanish, and managed their own funds. Pregnant or breastfeeding people were excluded. Participants were recruited from two medical centers and from the community. INTERVENTION/METHODS:The intervention (n = 208) offered smoking cessation coaching, nicotine replacement therapy, money management coaching, and referral to financial benefits and empowerment services. The waitlist control (n=202) was usual care during a 6-month waiting period. MAIN MEASURES/METHODS:Treatment engagement, self-reported 7-day abstinence, and financial stress at 6 months. KEY RESULTS/RESULTS:At 6 months, intervention participants reported higher abstinence (17% vs. 9%, P=0.03), lower stress about finances (β, -0.8 [SE, 0.4], P=0.02), and reduced frequency of being unable to afford activities (β, -0.8 [SE, 0.4], P=0.04). Outcomes were stronger among participants recruited from the medical centers (versus from the community). Among medical center participants, the intervention was associated with higher abstinence (20% vs. 8%, P=0.01), higher satisfaction with present financial situation (β, 1.0 [SE, 0.4], P=0.01), reduced frequency of being unable to afford activities (β, -1.0 [SE, 0.5], P=0.04), reduced frequency in getting by paycheck-to-paycheck (β, -1.0 [SE, 0.4], P=0.03), and lower stress about finances in general (β, -1.0 [SE, 0.4], P = 0.02). There were no group differences in outcomes among people recruited from the community (P>0.05). CONCLUSIONS:Among low-income smokers recruited from medical centers, the intervention produced higher abstinence rates and reductions in some markers of financial distress than usual care. The intervention was not efficacious with people recruited from the community. TRIAL REGISTRATION/ Identifier: NCT03187730.
PMID: 35018561
ISSN: 1525-1497
CID: 5118702

Clinical and genomic signatures of rising SARS-CoV-2 Delta breakthrough infections in New York

Duerr, Ralf; Dimartino, Dacia; Marier, Christian; Zappile, Paul; Levine, Samuel; François, Fritz; Iturrate, Eduardo; Wang, Guiqing; Dittmann, Meike; Lighter, Jennifer; Elbel, Brian; Troxel, Andrea B; Goldfeld, Keith S; Heguy, Adriana
In 2021, Delta has become the predominant SARS-CoV-2 variant worldwide. While vaccines effectively prevent COVID-19 hospitalization and death, vaccine breakthrough infections increasingly occur. The precise role of clinical and genomic determinants in Delta infections is not known, and whether they contribute to increased rates of breakthrough infections compared to unvaccinated controls. Here, we show a steep and near complete replacement of circulating variants with Delta between May and August 2021 in metropolitan New York. We observed an increase of the Delta sublineage AY.25, its spike mutation S112L, and nsp12 mutation F192V in breakthroughs. Delta infections were associated with younger age and lower hospitalization rates than Alpha. Delta breakthroughs increased significantly with time since vaccination, and, after adjusting for confounders, they rose at similar rates as in unvaccinated individuals. Our data indicate a limited impact of vaccine escape in favor of Delta's increased epidemic growth in times of waning vaccine protection.
PMID: 34909779
ISSN: n/a
CID: 5085062

Longitudinal Analysis of Neighborhood Food Environment and Diabetes Risk in the Veterans Administration Diabetes Risk Cohort

Kanchi, Rania; Lopez, Priscilla; Rummo, Pasquale E; Lee, David C; Adhikari, Samrachana; Schwartz, Mark D; Avramovic, Sanja; Siegel, Karen R; Rolka, Deborah B; Imperatore, Giuseppina; Elbel, Brian; Thorpe, Lorna E
Importance/UNASSIGNED:Diabetes causes substantial morbidity and mortality among adults in the US, yet its incidence varies across the country, suggesting that neighborhood factors are associated with geographical disparities in diabetes. Objective/UNASSIGNED:To examine the association between neighborhood food environment and risk of incident type 2 diabetes across different community types (high-density urban, low-density urban, suburban, and rural). Design, Setting, and Participants/UNASSIGNED:This is a national cohort study of 4 100 650 US veterans without type 2 diabetes. Participants entered the cohort between 2008 and 2016 and were followed up through 2018. The median (IQR) duration of follow-up was 5.5 (2.6-9.8) person-years. Data were obtained from Veterans Affairs electronic health records. Incident type 2 diabetes was defined as 2 encounters with type 2 diabetes International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision or Tenth Revision codes, a prescription for diabetes medication other than metformin or acarbose alone, or 1 encounter with type 2 diabetes International Classification of Diseases Ninth Revision or Tenth Revision codes and 2 instances of elevated hemoglobin A1c (≥6.5%). Data analysis was performed from October 2020 to March 2021. Exposures/UNASSIGNED:Five-year mean counts of fast-food restaurants and supermarkets relative to other food outlets at baseline were used to generate neighborhood food environment measures. The association between food environment and time to incident diabetes was examined using piecewise exponential models with 2-year interval of person-time and county-level random effects stratifying by community types. Results/UNASSIGNED:The mean (SD) age of cohort participants was 59.4 (17.2) years. Most of the participants were non-Hispanic White (2 783 756 participants [76.3%]) and male (3 779 555 participants [92.2%]). The relative density of fast-food restaurants was positively associated with a modestly increased risk of type 2 diabetes in all community types. The adjusted hazard ratio (aHR) was 1.01 (95% CI, 1.00-1.02) in high-density urban communities, 1.01 (95% CI, 1.01-1.01) in low-density urban communities, 1.02 (95% CI, 1.01-1.03) in suburban communities, and 1.01 (95% CI, 1.01-1.02) in rural communities. The relative density of supermarkets was associated with lower type 2 diabetes risk only in suburban (aHR, 0.97; 95% CI, 0.96-0.99) and rural (aHR, 0.99; 95% CI, 0.98-0.99) communities. Conclusions and Relevance/UNASSIGNED:These findings suggest that neighborhood food environment measures are associated with type 2 diabetes among US veterans in multiple community types and that food environments are potential avenues for action to address the burden of diabetes. Tailored interventions targeting the availability of supermarkets may be associated with reduced diabetes risk, particularly in suburban and rural communities, whereas restrictions on fast-food restaurants may help in all community types.
PMID: 34714343
ISSN: 2574-3805
CID: 5042862

Age-dependent association of obesity with COVID-19 severity in paediatric patients

Guzman, Benedict Vincent; Elbel, Brian; Jay, Melanie; Messito, Mary Jo; Curado, Silvia
BACKGROUND:Limited research has addressed the obesity-COVID-19 severity association in paediatric patients. OBJECTIVE:To determine whether obesity is an independent risk factor for COVID-19 severity in paediatric patients and whether age modifies this association. METHODS:SARS-CoV-2-positive patients at NYU Langone Health from 1 March 2020 to 3 January 2021 aged 0-21 years with available anthropometric measurements: weight, length/height and/or body mass index (BMI). Modified log-Poisson models were utilized for the analysis. Main outcomes were 1) hospitalization and 2) critical illness (intensive care unit [ICU] admission). RESULTS:One hundred and fifteen of four hundred and ninety-four (23.3%) patients had obesity. Obesity was an independent risk factor for critical illness (adjusted risk ratio [ARR] 2.02, 95% CI 1.17 to 3.48). This association was modified by age, with obesity related to a greater risk for critical illness in adolescents (13-21 years) [ARR 3.09, 95% CI 1.48 to 6.47], but not in children (0-12 years). Obesity was not an independent risk factor for hospitalization for any age. CONCLUSION/CONCLUSIONS:Obesity was an independent risk factor for critical illness in paediatric patients, and this association was modified by age, with obesity related to a greater risk for critical illness in adolescents, but not in children. These findings are crucial for patient risk stratification and care.
PMID: 34581027
ISSN: 2047-6310
CID: 5067422