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Protocol for a cross sectional study of cancer risk, environmental exposures and lifestyle behaviors in a diverse community sample: the Community of Mine study.

  • Author(s): Jankowska, Marta M
  • Sears, Dorothy D
  • Natarajan, Loki
  • Martinez, Elena
  • Anderson, Cheryl AM
  • Sallis, James F
  • Matthews, Stephen A
  • Crist, Katie
  • Dillon, Lindsay
  • Johnson, Eileen
  • Barrera-Ng, Angelica
  • Full, Kelsey
  • Godbole, Suneeta
  • Kerr, Jacqueline
  • et al.


Physical inactivity and unhealthy diet are modifiable behaviors that lead to several cancers. Biologically, these behaviors are linked to cancer through obesity-related insulin resistance, inflammation, and oxidative stress. Individual strategies to change physical activity and diet are often short lived with limited effects. Interventions are expected to be more successful when guided by multi-level frameworks that include environmental components for supporting lifestyle changes. Understanding the role of environment in the pathways between behavior and cancer can help identify what environmental conditions are needed for individual behavioral change approaches to be successful, and better recognize how environments may be fueling underlying racial and ethnic cancer disparities.


This cross-sectional study was designed to select participants (n = 602 adults, 40% Hispanic, in San Diego County) from a range of neighborhoods ensuring environmental variability in walkability and food access. Biomarkers measuring cancer risk were measured with fasting blood draw including insulin resistance (fasting plasma insulin and glucose levels), systemic inflammation (levels of CRP), and oxidative stress measured from urine samples. Objective physical activity, sedentary behavior, and sleep were measured by participants wearing a GT3X+ ActiGraph on the hip and wrist. Objective measures of locations were obtained through participants wearing a Qstarz Global Positioning System (GPS) device on the waist. Dietary measures were based on a 24-h food recall collected on two days (weekday and weekend). Environmental exposure will be calculated using static measures around the home and work, and dynamic measures of mobility derived from GPS traces. Associations of environment with physical activity, obesity, diet, and biomarkers will be measured using generalized estimating equation models.


Our study is the largest study of objectively measured physical activity, dietary behaviors, environmental context/exposure, and cancer-related biomarkers in a Hispanic population. It is the first to perform high quality measures of physical activity, sedentary behavior, sleep, diet and locations in which these behaviors occur in relation to cancer-associated biomarkers including insulin resistance, inflammation, impaired lipid metabolism, and oxidative stress. Results will add to the evidence-base of how behaviors and the built environment interact to influence biomarkers that increase cancer risk.

Trial registration NCT02094170 , 03/21/2014.

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