Grant #: 75137
Grantee Institution: President & Fellows of Harvard College
Principal Investigator: Sara Bleich, Ph.D.
Data set: athenahealth
Grant Period: 12/15/17 – 12/14/18
Budget: $149,374

The goal of the study is to inform federal, state, and local policymakers interested in tangible interventions to reduce the prevalence of obesity through altering the food environment. Evidence suggests that the food environment is associated with obesity risk, which is disproportionately present among racial minority populations. In this project, the researchers will create a county-level measure of the restaurant environment, coupled with data from athenahealth, to test whether changes in the restaurant environment lead to changes in obesity and whether this relationship varies by race/ethnicity. The researchers’ analysis will use county fixed-effects OLS regression models to predict individual BMI outcomes for the period 2012 to 2016 according to their time-varying county-level restaurant exposure measure. The analysis will control for a range of county- and person-level factors that could otherwise confound the association with changes in BMI. Deliverables will include a project work plan and final narrative and financial reports. The researchers will also produce paper(s) suitable for publication and present findings at national research meetings and to other stakeholder audiences as appropriate, including policymakers at the federal, state, and local levels and other key stakeholders, as part of the deliverables for this grant.