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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

Dominance of Alpha and Iota variants in SARS-CoV-2 vaccine breakthrough infections in New York City

Duerr, Ralf; Dimartino, Dacia; Marier, Christian; Zappile, Paul; Wang, Guiqing; Lighter, Jennifer; Elbel, Brian; Troxel, Andrea B; Heguy, Adriana
The efficacy of COVID-19 mRNA vaccines is high, but breakthrough infections still occur. We compared the SARS-CoV-2 genomes of 76 breakthrough cases after full vaccination with BNT162b2 (Pfizer/BioNTech), mRNA-1273 (Moderna), or JNJ-78436735 (Janssen) to unvaccinated controls (February-April 2021) in metropolitan New York, including their phylogenetic relationship, distribution of variants, and full spike mutation profiles. The median age of patients in the study was 48 years; 7 required hospitalization and 1 died. Most breakthrough infections (57/76) occurred with B.1.1.7 (Alpha) or B.1.526 (Iota). Among the 7 hospitalized cases, 4 were infected with B.1.1.7, including 1 death. Both unmatched and matched statistical analyses considering age, sex, vaccine type, and study month as covariates supported the null hypothesis of equal variant distributions between vaccinated and unvaccinated in χ2 and McNemar tests (P > 0.1), highlighting a high vaccine efficacy against B.1.1.7 and B.1.526. There was no clear association among breakthroughs between type of vaccine received and variant. In the vaccinated group, spike mutations in the N-terminal domain and receptor-binding domain that have been associated with immune evasion were overrepresented. The evolving dynamic of SARS-CoV-2 variants requires broad genomic analyses of breakthrough infections to provide real-life information on immune escape mediated by circulating variants and their spike mutations.
PMID: 34375308
ISSN: 1558-8238
CID: 5010772

Area Characteristics and Consumer Nutrition Environments in Restaurants: an Examination of Hispanic Caribbean Restaurants in New York City

Fuster, Melissa; Kodali, Hanish; Ray, Krishnendu; Elbel, Brian; Handley, Margaret A; Huang, Terry T-K; Johnson, Glen
Hispanics in the USA, particularly those of Caribbean descent, experience high levels of diet-related diseases and dietary risk factors. Restaurants are an increasingly important yet understudied source of food and may present opportunities to positively influence urban food environments. We sought to explore food environments further, by examining the association between neighborhood characteristics and restaurant consumer nutrition environments within New York City's Hispanic Caribbean (HC) restaurant environments. We applied an adapted version of the Nutrition Environment Measurements Survey for Restaurants (NEMS-R) to evaluate a random sample of HC restaurants (n=89). NEMS-HCR scores (continuous and categorized as low, medium, and high based on data distribution) were examined against area sociodemographic characteristics using bivariate and logistic regression analysis. HC restaurants located in Hispanic geographic enclaves had a higher proportion of fried menu items (p<0.01) but presented fewer environmental barriers to healthy eating, compared with those in areas with lower Hispanic concentrations. No significant differences in NEMS-R scores were found by other neighborhood characteristics. Size was the only significant factor predicting high NEMS-HCR scores, where small restaurants were less likely to have scores in the high category (NEMS-HCR score>6), compared with their medium (aOR: 6.6, 95% CI: 1.8-24.6) and large counterparts (aOR: 5.6, 95% CI: 1.5-21.4). This research is the first to examine the association between restaurant location and consumer nutrition environments, providing information to contribute to future interventions and policies seeking to improve urban food environments in communities disproportionately affected by diet-related conditions, as in the case of HC communities in New York City.
PMID: 34152587
ISSN: 2196-8837
CID: 4918172

Comparing competing geospatial measures to capture the relationship between the neighborhood food environment and diet

Rummo, Pasquale E; Algur, Yasemin; McAlexander, Tara; Judd, Suzanne E; Lopez, Priscilla M; Adhikari, Samrachana; Brown, Janene; Meeker, Melissa; McClure, Leslie A; Elbel, Brian
PURPOSE/OBJECTIVE:To examine how the choice of neighborhood food environment definition impacts the association with diet. METHODS:) and relative measures (i.e., percentage of all food stores or restaurants); and various buffer distances, including administrative units (census tract) and empirically-derived buffers ("classic" network, "sausage" network) tailored to community type (higher-density urban, lower-density urban, suburban/small town, rural). Using generalized estimating equations, we estimated the association between each geospatial measure and DIS, controlling for individual- and neighborhood-level sociodemographics. RESULTS:The choice of buffer-based measure did not change the direction or magnitude of associations with DIS. Effect estimates derived from administrative units were smaller than those derived from tailored empirically-derived buffer measures. Substantively, a 10% increase in the percentage of fast food restaurants using a "classic" network buffer was associated with a 6.3 (SE=1.17) point higher DIS (p<0.001). The relationship between the percentage of supermarkets and DIS, however, was null. We observed high correlation coefficients between buffer-based density measures of supermarkets and fast food restaurants (r=0.73-0.83), which made it difficult to estimate independent associations by food outlet type. CONCLUSIONS:Researchers should tailor buffer-based measures to community type in future studies, and carefully consider the theoretical and statistical implications for choosing relative (vs. absolute) measures.
PMID: 34051343
ISSN: 1873-2585
CID: 4890622

Facilitating Healthier Eating at Restaurants: A Multidisciplinary Scoping Review Comparing Strategies, Barriers, Motivators, and Outcomes by Restaurant Type and Initiator

Fuster, Melissa; Handley, Margaret A; Alam, Tamara; Fullington, Lee Ann; Elbel, Brian; Ray, Krishnendu; Huang, Terry T-K
Restaurants are understudied yet increasingly important food environment institutions for tackling diet-related diseases. This scoping review analyzes research and gray literature (n = 171 records) to assess which healthy eating promotion strategies have been implemented in restaurants and the associated motivations, barriers, and outcomes, compared by restaurant type (corporate/chain vs. independently owned restaurants) and initiator (restaurant-initiated vs. investigator-initiated). We found that the most commonly reported strategy was the increase of generally healthy offerings and the promotion of such offerings. Changes in food availability were more common among corporate restaurants and initiated by restaurants, while environmental facilitators were more commonly initiated by investigators and associated with independently owned restaurants. Aside from those associated with revenue, motivations and barriers for healthy eating promoting strategies varied by restaurant type. While corporate restaurants were also motivated by public health criticism, independently owned restaurants were motivated by interests to improve community health. Revenue concerns were followed by food sourcing issues in corporate restaurants and lack of interest among independently owned restaurants. Among reporting sources, most outcomes were revenue positive. This study shows the need for practice-based evidence and accounting for restaurant business models to tailor interventions and policies for sustained positive changes in these establishments.
PMID: 33557280
ISSN: 1660-4601
CID: 4779432

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: 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.
ISSN: 2047-6302
CID: 5054832

Evaluation of Secondhand Smoke Exposure in New York City Public Housing After Implementation of the 2018 Federal Smoke-Free Housing Policy

Thorpe, Lorna E; Anastasiou, Elle; Wyka, Katarzyna; Tovar, Albert; Gill, Emily; Rule, Ana; Elbel, Brian; Kaplan, Sue A; Jiang, Nan; Gordon, Terry; Shelley, Donna
Importance/UNASSIGNED:Secondhand smoke (SHS) exposure is associated with many health conditions in children and adults. Millions of individuals in the US are currently exposed to SHS in their homes. Objective/UNASSIGNED:To investigate whether a federal ban on smoking in public housing settings was associated with a decrease in indoor SHS levels in New York City public housing developments 12 months after the policy's implementation. Design, Setting, and Participants/UNASSIGNED:This cohort study tracked indoor air quality longitudinally from April 2018 to September 2019 and used difference-in-differences analysis to examine SHS exposure before vs after implementation of the 2018 federal smoke-free housing (SFH) policy in 10 New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) buildings vs 11 matched low-income buildings not subject to the SFH policy (ie, Section 8 buildings). Exposures/UNASSIGNED:Federal SFH policy implementation, beginning July 30, 2018. Main Outcomes and Measures/UNASSIGNED:Comparison of nicotine concentration levels from passive, bisulfate-coated filters before vs 12 months after implementation of the federal SFH policy. Secondary outcomes included changes in particulate matter less than 2.5 μm in diameter, measured with low-cost particle monitors, and counts of cigarette butts in common areas. Results/UNASSIGNED:Air quality was measured repeatedly in a total of 153 NYCHA and 110 Section 8 nonsmoking households as well as in 91 stairwells and hallways. Before the SFH policy implementation, air nicotine was detectable in 19 of 20 stairwells (95.0%) in NYCHA buildings and 15 of 19 stairwells (78.9%) in Section 8 buildings (P = .19) and in 17 of 19 hallways (89.5%) in NYCHA buildings and 14 of 23 hallways (60.9%) in Section 8 buildings (P = .004). Nicotine was detected less frequently inside nonsmoking apartments overall (26 of 263 [9.9%]) but more frequently in NYCHA apartments (20 of 153 [13.1%]) than in Section 8 apartments (6 of 110 [5.5%]) (P = .04). One year after policy implementation, there was no differential change over time in nicotine concentrations measured in stairwells (DID, 0.03 μg/m3; 95% CI, -0.99 to 1.06 μg/m3) or inside nonsmoking households (DID, -0.04 μg/m3; 95% CI, -0.24 to 0.15 μg/m3). Larger decreases in nicotine concentration were found in NYCHA hallways than in Section 8 hallways (DID, -0.43 μg/m3; 95% CI, -1.26 to 0.40 μg/m3). Conclusions and Relevance/UNASSIGNED:The findings suggest that there was no differential change in SHS in NYCHA buildings 12 months after SFH policy implementation. Additional support may be needed to ensure adherence to SFH policies.
PMID: 33151318
ISSN: 2574-3805
CID: 4684142

The Diabetes Location, Environmental Attributes, and Disparities Network: Protocol for Nested Case Control and Cohort Studies, Rationale, and Baseline Characteristics

Hirsch, Annemarie G; Carson, April P; Lee, Nora L; McAlexander, Tara; Mercado, Carla; Siegel, Karen; Black, Nyesha C; Elbel, Brian; Long, D Leann; Lopez, Priscilla; McClure, Leslie A; Poulsen, Melissa N; Schwartz, Brian S; Thorpe, Lorna E
BACKGROUND:Diabetes prevalence and incidence vary by neighborhood socioeconomic environment (NSEE) and geographic region in the United States. Identifying modifiable community factors driving type 2 diabetes disparities is essential to inform policy interventions that reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. OBJECTIVE:This paper aims to describe the Diabetes Location, Environmental Attributes, and Disparities (LEAD) Network, a group funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to apply harmonized epidemiologic approaches across unique and geographically expansive data to identify community factors that contribute to type 2 diabetes risk. METHODS:The Diabetes LEAD Network is a collaboration of 3 study sites and a data coordinating center (Drexel University). The Geisinger and Johns Hopkins University study population includes 578,485 individuals receiving primary care at Geisinger, a health system serving a population representative of 37 counties in Pennsylvania. The New York University School of Medicine study population is a baseline cohort of 6,082,146 veterans who do not have diabetes and are receiving primary care through Veterans Affairs from every US county. The University of Alabama at Birmingham study population includes 11,199 participants who did not have diabetes at baseline from the Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) study, a cohort study with oversampling of participants from the Stroke Belt region. RESULTS:The Network has established a shared set of aims: evaluate mediation of the association of the NSEE with type 2 diabetes onset, evaluate effect modification of the association of NSEE with type 2 diabetes onset, assess the differential item functioning of community measures by geographic region and community type, and evaluate the impact of the spatial scale used to measure community factors. The Network has developed standardized approaches for measurement. CONCLUSIONS:The Network will provide insight into the community factors driving geographical disparities in type 2 diabetes risk and disseminate findings to stakeholders, providing guidance on policies to ameliorate geographic disparities in type 2 diabetes in the United States. INTERNATIONAL REGISTERED REPORT IDENTIFIER (IRRID)/UNASSIGNED:DERR1-10.2196/21377.
PMID: 33074163
ISSN: 1929-0748
CID: 4642802

Trends in Store-Level Sales of Sugary Beverages and Water in the U.S., 2006-2015

Rummo, Pasquale E; Pho, Nam; Bragg, Marie A; Roberto, Christina A; Elbel, Brian
INTRODUCTION/BACKGROUND:Previous research on sugar-sweetened beverage trends has focused on self-reported consumption from surveys. Few studies used objective store sales or explored differences by area-level demographics and store type. METHODS:The average volume of beverages sold per store per 3-digit zoning improvement plan code from 2006 to 2015 was calculated using national Nielsen Retail Scanner point-of-sale data from 24,240 stores. A multilevel regression model analyzed annual trends, with random intercepts for state and separate models for beverage type (regular soda, no/low-calorie soda, other sugary drinks, 100% fruit juice, bottled water). Differences by store type (convenience, supermarkets, drug stores, mass merchandisers) and area-level demographics (categorized as tertiles) were examined. Data were analyzed in 2019. RESULTS:The model-based estimates indicated that sales of regular soda (-11.8%), no/low-calorie soda (-19.8%), and 100% fruit juice (-31.9%) decreased over time, whereas sales of bottled water (+34.4%) increased and sales of other sugary drinks remained stable (+2.4%). Decreases in sugar-sweetened beverage sales were largely concentrated in supermarkets and larger in areas with high income and education levels and a high percentage of black and Hispanic people. There were also relatively larger increases in bottled water sales in states located in the South and Midwest. CONCLUSIONS:The finding that sales of sugar-sweetened beverages decreased over time, whereas sales of bottled water increased is encouraging because sugar-sweetened beverage consumption is linked to obesity and other chronic conditions. This study provides a novel, rigorous assessment of U.S. beverage sales trends and differences by community and store characteristics.
PMID: 32951682
ISSN: 1873-2607
CID: 4598252

Does Proximity to Fast Food Cause Childhood Obesity? Evidence from Public Housing

Han, Jeehee; Schwartz, Amy Ellen; Elbel, Brian
We examine the causal link between proximity to fast food and the incidence of childhood obesity among low-income households in New York City. Using individual-level longitudinal data on students living in public housing linked to restaurant location data, we exploit the naturally occurring within-development variation in distance to fast food restaurants to estimate the impact of proximity on obesity. Since the assignment of households to specific buildings is based upon availability at the time of assignment to public housing, the distance between student residence and retail outlets-including fast food restaurants, wait-service restaurants, supermarkets, and corner stores-is plausibly random. Our credibly causal estimates suggest that childhood obesity increases with proximity to fast food, with larger effects for younger children who attend neighborhood schools.
PMID: 32699458
ISSN: 0166-0462
CID: 4671022