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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

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

Duerr, Ralf; Dimartino, Dacia; Marier, Christian; Zappile, Paul; Levine, Samuel; Francois, Fritz; Iturrate, Eduardo; Wang, Guiqing; Dittmann, Meike; Lighter, Jennifer; Elbel, Brian; Troxel, Andrea B; Goldfeld, Keith S; Heguy, Adriana
BACKGROUND:In 2021, Delta became the predominant SARS-CoV-2 variant worldwide. While vaccines have effectively prevented COVID-19 hospitalization and death, vaccine breakthrough infections increasingly occurred. The precise role of clinical and genomic determinants in Delta infections is not known, and whether they contributed to increased rates of breakthrough infections compared to unvaccinated controls. METHODS:We studied SARS-CoV-2 variant distribution, dynamics, and adaptive selection over time in relation to vaccine status, phylogenetic relatedness of viruses, full genome mutation profiles, and associated clinical and demographic parameters. FINDINGS/RESULTS: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 (14% in vaccinated, 7% in unvaccinated), its spike mutation S112L, and AY.44 (8% in vaccinated, 2% in unvaccinated) with its nsp12 mutation F192V in breakthroughs. Delta infections were associated with younger age and lower hospitalization rates than Alpha. Delta breakthrough infections increased significantly with time since vaccination, and, after adjusting for confounders, they rose at similar rates as in unvaccinated individuals. INTERPRETATION/CONCLUSIONS:We observed a modest adaptation of Delta genomes in breakthrough infections in New York, suggesting an improved genomic framework to support Delta's epidemic growth in times of waning vaccine protection despite limited impact on vaccine escape. FUNDING/BACKGROUND:The study was supported by NYU institutional funds. The NYULH Genome Technology Center is partially supported by the Cancer Center Support Grant P30CA016087 at the Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Cancer Center.
PMID: 35906172
ISSN: 2352-3964
CID: 5277042

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

The Prenatal Neighborhood Environment and Geographic Hotspots of Infants with At-risk Birthweights in New York City

Duh-Leong, Carol; Shonna Yin, H; Gross, Rachel S; Elbel, Brian; Thorpe, Lorna E; Trasande, Leonardo; White, Michelle J; Perrin, Eliana M; Fierman, Arthur H; Lee, David C
Infants born with low or high ("at-risk") birthweights are at greater risk of adverse health outcomes across the life course. Our objective was to examine whether geographic hotspots of low and high birthweight prevalence in New York City had different patterns of neighborhood risk factors. We performed census tract-level geospatial clustering analyses using (1) birthweight prevalence and maternal residential address from an all-payer claims database and (2) domains of neighborhood risk factors (socioeconomic and food environment) from national and local datasets. We then used logistic regression analysis to identify specific neighborhood risk factors associated with low and high birthweight hotspots. This study examined 2088 census tracts representing 419,025 infants. We found almost no overlap (1.5%) between low and high birthweight hotspots. The majority of low birthweight hotspots (87.2%) overlapped with a socioeconomic risk factor and 95.7% overlapped with a food environment risk factor. Half of high birthweight hotspots (50.0%) overlapped with a socioeconomic risk factor and 48.8% overlapped with a food environment risk factor. Low birthweight hotspots were associated with high prevalence of excessive housing cost, unemployment, and poor food environment. High birthweight hotspots were associated with high prevalence of uninsured persons and convenience stores. Programs and policies that aim to prevent disparities in infant birthweight should examine the broader context by which hotspots of at-risk birthweight overlap with neighborhood risk factors. Multi-level strategies that include the neighborhood context are needed to address prenatal pathways leading to low and high birthweight outcomes.
PMID: 35641714
ISSN: 1468-2869
CID: 5233372

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

The Link between Gentrification, Children"™s Egocentric Food Environment, and Obesity

Rick, Christopher; Han, Jeehee; Elbel, Brian; Schwartz, Amy Ellen
While advocates argue that gentrification changes the neighborhood food environment critical to children"™s diet and health, we have little evidence documenting such changes or the consequences for their health outcomes. Using rich longitudinal, individual-level data on nearly 115,000 New York City children, including egocentric measures of their food environment and BMI, we examine the link between neighborhood demographic change ("gentrification"), children"™s access to restaurants and supermarkets, and their weight outcomes. We find that children in rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods see increased access to fast food and wait-service restaurants and reduced access to corner stores and supermarkets compared to those in non-gentrifying areas. Boys and girls have higher BMI following gentrification, but only boys are more likely to be obese or overweight. We find public housing moderates the relationship between gentrification and weight, as children living in public housing are less likely to be obese or overweight.
ISSN: 1051-1482
CID: 5349942

Food Insecurity in Rural Communities Before and During the COVID-Pandemic [Meeting Abstract]

Arias, Carolina Quintero; Rony, Melissa; Jensen, Erica; Patel, Rahi; O\Callaghan, Stasha; Koziatek, Christian A.; Doran, Kelly; Anthopolos, Rebeccca; Thorpe, Lorna; Elbel, Brian; Mcgraw, Nancy A.; Lee, David C.
ISSN: 0012-1797
CID: 5421252