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Approved research

Understanding the dose-response relationships between modifiable lifestyle behaviors & environment with chronic disease risk and mortality: Creating simple tools for improving public health

Principal Investigator: Dr Aliakbar Mohsenipour
Approved Research ID: 42097
Approval date: July 27th 2018

Lay summary

Rationale: It is well known that lifestyle behaviors like physical activity, diet and smoking have an impact on our health, risk for disease, and mortality. It is also known that our environment has similar effects on our health. What is not known is exactly what these relationships look like. For example, we do not know exactly how much physical activity we need to do in order to reduce our disease risk, or to live a longer life. Lifestyle related diseases make up more than 80% of the burden of disease globally. Because of this, we need to be able build tools for the public that are accessible, easy to use, personalized, and show how specific changes in behaviour impact real health outcomes like disease and death. Aim 1: This project aims to uncover relationships between our lifestyle (physical activity, diet, smoking), our environment, and our health. Specifically we want to understand how our lifestyle behaviours impact risk for cancer, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, low back pain and depression, as well as our longevity. Aim 2: Build simple, accessible tools for helping people set realistic and personalized goals for lifestyle behaviour change. Public Health Impact: We will use the UK Biobank data to build tools that will allow people to see how changes in their behavior and environment will directly change their risk for disease, and longevity. Specifically we will look at how changes in physical activity, diet, smoking and environmental factors (pollution, noise) impact risk for common chronic diseases. Using this information we will build simple and accessible goal-setting tools that can be accessed via web or mobile application. Research shows that for people to change behavior, goals need to be personalized, realistic, and targeted. This analysis will allow us to provide these types of goals. Small improvements in disease risk and mortality risk can have massive impacts on healthcare costs and burden of disease globally. Duration: This project will take approximately 3 years to complete.