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Approved research

Understanding the associations between environmental exposures, health behaviours and health outcomes

Principal Investigator: Dr Jenna Panter
Approved Research ID: 20684
Approval date: November 1st 2016

Lay summary

It is hypothesised that physical, social and economic environments are related to health. However, in the absence of large population based cohorts with good quality measures of the environment, health behaviours and health outcomes, there is limited robust evidence confirming these relationships. This project will examine the associations between environmental conditions around participants? homes (including features of the built environment, proximity to destinations that facilitate healthy behaviours, and air pollution) and physical activity and dietary behaviours and health outcomes such as overweight and obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and death. One of UK Biobank?s principal aims is the prevention of serious disease. Lack of physical activity and poor diet are risk factors for multiple chronic conditions, including type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease and stroke. The environments we live in contribute to lower levels of physical activity, unhealthy diets, rising overweight and obesity, and socio-economic inequalities in these behaviours and related diseases. Actions to improve the environment for public health are increasingly advocated in the UK and elsewhere. Understanding the relationships between the environment, dietary and physical activity behaviours, and health outcomes can inform strategies for improving population health. We will use measures of the environment around people?s homes, already calculated for Biobank participants, and examine their associations with self-reported or objectively measured dietary and physical activity behaviours and health outcomes. For example, we will examine the associations between measures of the built environment and proximity to destinations (such as parks and supermarkets) and self-reported and objective measures of physical activity. We will also assess the associations with changes in physical activity and diet in the repeat-measures subsample. All analyses will use existing, and accruing, data only. We will not need to re-contact participants Data from the full cohort and the repeat subsample are requested.