“Diets and Health: How Food Decisions Are Shaped by Biology, Economics, Geography, and Social Interactions,” by Adam Drewnowski and Ichiro Kawachi, published in the journal Big Data (October 2015)
Dr. Adam Drewnowski, Ph.D., Director, Center for Public Health Nutrition; Director, Center for Obesity Research; Professor, Dept. of Epidemiology, University of Washington; Creator of the Nutrient Rich Foods and Affordable Nutrition Indices; Member, Standing Committee to Prevent Childhood Obesity, National Academy of Medicine; Principal Investigator, Seattle Obesity Study
Dr. Ichiro Kawachi, Ph.D., Chair, Dept. of Social and Behavioral Science, and John L. Loeb and Frances Lehman Loeb Professor of Social Epidemiology, Harvard University; Co-Director, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health and Society Scholars; Chair, Harvard School of Public Health Institutional Review Board.
Health is shaped by both personal choices and features of the food environment. Food-choice decisions depend on complex interactions between biology and behavior, and are further modulated by the built environment and community structure. That lower-income families have lower-quality diets is well established. Yet, diet quality also varies across small geographic neighborhoods and can be influenced by transportation, retail, and ease of access to healthy foods, as well as by attitudes, beliefs, and social interactions. The learnings from the Seattle Obesity Study (SOS II) can be usefully applied to the much larger, more complex, and far more socially and ethnically diverse urban environment of New York City. The HUMAN Project (THP) is ideally positioned to advance the understanding of health disparities by exploring the multiple underpinnings of food decision making. By combining geo-localized food shopping and consumption data with health behaviors, diet quality measures, and biomarkers, also coded by geographic location, the KHP will create the first-of-its-kind bio-behavioral, economic, and cultural atlas of diet quality and health for New York City.