Fan, Victoria ScD

Pilot Project PI
Assistant Professor
College of Health Sciences & Social Welfare
and Office of Public Health Studies
University of Hawai’i at Manoa

(808) 956-5596

Research Overview

2015-2016 & 2016-2017 RMATRIX Collaboration Pilot Projects Program Awards

Project Description

Title: The Economics of Food Environment, Body Mass Index, and Hospitalizations in Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander Communities on O’ahu
Principal Investigator: Victoria Fan, ScD
RMATRIX HEALTH Initiative(s): Nutrition & Metabolic
RMATRIX Core Support: Professional Development, Biostatistics & Health Sciences Data Analytics, Regulatory Knowledge & Support


Nearly 87% of NHOPI in the United States (US) are overweight or obese, the highest among all ethnic groups. One key factor that likely contributes to the prevalence of overweight and obesity is the food environment. In particular, a “food desert” - a geographic area with limited access to adequate healthy, affordable food choices Ã???Ã??Ã?¢?? has been posited to contribute to one’s risk of overweight and obesity in the US. Healthy food outlets within a half-mile of one’s residence is associated with a lower risk of obesity in the US. Conversely, the availability, distribution, and concentration of stores stocking unhealthy junk and fast foods may increase one’s risk of being overweight and obese. The association between food environment and health risks among NHOPI populations has not been well quantified. Little is known about the availability of stores more nutritious foods to NHOPI. In contrast, communities in Hawaii with a higher proportion of Native Hawaiians tend to have a greater proportion of fast food outlets, yet little is known about the geographic availability of such outlets to Other Pacific Islanders. In this study, we propose to examine the extent to which the food environment contributes to the risk of being overweight or obese among NHOPI populations in Hawaii. The aspect of the food environment focus for this study is the availability of stores offering healthy or unhealthy foods, and particularly the proximity of those stores, to NHOPI households and individuals. We aim to quantify the relationship between the presence of an additional “unhealthy” food store and one’s likely increased risk of being overweight and getting hospitalized as well as attributable hospitalization costs. This will allow us to better identify communities with unhealthy food environments for future targeting efforts and to write a future grant proposal that examines the composition of foods stocked by food stores.

15 September 2017:
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16 May 2017:
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16 June 2017, 9am - 10:30am:
02 June 2017, 8:15am - 4:10pm:
02 November 2016, 9am:
RMATRIX-II Collaboration Pilot Projects Program 2017 -- Informational Webinar

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Supported by a grant from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (U54MD007584), National Institutes of Health.