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Study Aims to Locate How San Diego Neighborhoods Affect Health

These three wearable devices will track study participants’ motion and location for two weeks, Nov. 4, 2015. | Photo Credit: David Wagner, KPBS

By David Wagner
Logo for K P B S San Diego

When it comes to where San Diegans live, do wealthier neighborhoods produce healthier people? Or is it more about walkability, proximity to parks, or access to good food?

Researchers at UC San Diego are recruiting people from all over San Diego County to find out.

The “Community of Mine” study aims to understand how different neighborhoods can affect residents’ health by tracking 700 San Diegans living and working throughout the county.

Researchers will be able to collect data on how many steps people take in different areas of San Diego, how often they use public transportation, and whether they shop at nearby grocery stores.

“We’re able to see different types of behaviors in different places,” said lead researcherJacqueline Kerr. “Where in the county are people finding it good to walk? Where are people accessing fast food?”

Study participants will wear small motion-tracking and GPS devices for two weeks. They’ll also report what they eat and visit a clinic to assess their cancer risk. Kerr said this kind of information could help city planners build neighborhoods that promote better health.

“This data could be be used for future planning decisions,” Kerr said, who has advised the San Diego Association of Governments about the public health implications of regional transportation planning.

“For example, where sidewalks may need to be installed. Where bike facilities or bike lanes could be positioned,” she said. “Where there might be need for additional services, whether those are health services or transportation services such as bus stops or even grocery stores.”

Researchers are recruiting adult residents of San Diego Country between the ages of 35 and 80. They want to enroll equal numbers of Hispanic and non-Hispanic participants, and the study will accommodate Spanish speakers.

Interested in joining the study? To find out if you’re eligible for enrollment, go to communityofmine.ucsd.edu or call (858) 534-9333.


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