Environmental Change and Inflammation: Age, Cohort and Household Effects in China

Early life exposure to changing social and physical environments has been implicated as a driving force in the increasing global prevalence of obesity and chronic disease at younger ages. However, understanding of the complex pathways linking environmental exposures to the development of health and disease across the life course has been limited by methodological difficulties in disentangling the effects of changing environments from individual, age-related vulnerability to environmental change. This career development award addresses this gap, bringing together training in sophisticated demographic methods and a unique dataset, the China Health and Nutrition Study (CHNS), a 20-year NIH study of >11,000 individuals in 4,400 households capturing dramatic changes in diet, disease burden and lifestyles, to characterize environmental determinants of inflammation, a measure of chronic immune activation linked to the development of cardiometabolic disease. Drawing on a life course framework, this project examines the pathways linking social and physical environments to inflammation among children, adolescents and young adults through three specific aims: 1) the characterization of salient social, behavioral, biological and physical environmental predictors of inflammation across age groups and urban/rural residence, 2) the use of latent class trajectory models and age, period, cohort analysis to characterize longitudinal patterns of exposure to pathogenic and obesogenic environments, and 3) the identification of shared and unique predictors of inflammation within individual households to address age and cohort differences in vulnerability on the micro-environmental level.

Principal Investigator: Amanda L. Thompson

CPC Fellow Investigators: Penny Gordon-Larsen , Kathleen Mullan Harris , Barry M. Popkin

Funding Source: NIH NICHD

Grant Number: 1-K01-HD071948

Funding Period: 6/22/2012 - 3/31/2016

Primary Research Area: Population Health

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