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Smartphone-based assessment of food environment, diet and obesity risk


300 million adults and 16 million children in China are now obese. The rapid economic development, urbanization and associated environmental changes occurring in China are thought to be responsible for this growing obesity epidemic. My dissertation research has gradually developed into four interconnected parts which are presented in Chapter 1, 2, 3 and future work. First (Chapter 1), culturally specific food environment survey instruments were developed and used to document the longitudinal changes in food availability in six representative neighborhoods in Kunming via field audits. Second (Chapter 2), to pilot test our integrated methodology, a 12-person cohort was recruited in Kunming, and individual dietary behavior was modeled and topologies were proposed. Third (Chapter 3), to further test our methodology on a larger cohort aiming to examine the relationship between food environment and sugar-sweetened beverage consumption, we worked with Carolina Population Center on their China Beverage Validation Study in urban and rural Shanghai. Lastly (future work), to examine the health impacts of the changing food environment, a 300 adolescent cohort was recruited from two high schools in Kunming, and followed for two years. Their dietary, physical activity, mental, social and physical changes were assessed via traditional research surveys, smartphone-based activity tracking and Internet datamining. Preliminary results on the cohort’s BMIs are presented.

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