Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research

Longitudinal relationships between built environment attributes and changes in markers of cardio-metabolic risk

Cardio-metabolic diseases (heart diseases and diabetes) are a major burden to our society. Physically-inactive lifestyles can elevate the risk of these diseases. Public health research now focuses on identifying neighbourhood built-environmental attributes that may be modified to facilitate residents’ physically-active lifestyles. Despite the steady growth in this field, research to date has focused mostly on cross-sectional relationships between built-environmental attributes and obesity-related measures. Evidence from longitudinal studies is warranted to advance the understanding about how the built-environment can influence a wider range of cardio-metabolic health outcomes over time.

This PhD project consists of a systematic review of the literature and empirical studies. The candidate is currently preparing a manuscript for the review. The empirical studies will use data from the Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle (AusDiab) study, a national cohort study examining the prevalence and correlates of diabetes and heart disease among Australian adults. Environmental attributes such as dwelling density, street connectivity, access to local destinations and parks will be calculated using Geographic Information Systems, and linked to eligible AusDiab participants. Analysis will examine how these environmental factors are related to changes in cardio-metabolic risk, including body mass index, waist circumference, blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood glucose. This project is supported by the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Healthy Liveable Communities.

Investigators

Mr Manoj Chandrabose, PhD candidate, ACU
Professor Takemi Sugiyama, Principal Supervisor, ACU
Dr Alison Carver, C0-Supervisor, ACU
Distinguished Professor Billie Giles-Corti, Associate Supervisor, RMIT University
Professor Neville Owen, Associate Supervisor, Swinburne University