PhD candidate Tashi Dendup travels to ISEE-ISES AC 2019 Conference in Daegu, Korea Travelling/conference experience
I have had the privilege of sharing my research findings at the 2019 International Society for Environmental Epidemiology and the International Society of Exposure Science, Asia Chapter, which was convened in October in Daegu, South Korea. I presented my first empirical PhD study titled “Residential self-selection, perceived built environment and type 2 diabetes incidence: a longitudinal analysis of 36,224 middle to older age adults”. This was my first time presenting my research outcome at an international forum and my first visit to Korea. It was, therefore, not only an exciting developmental and learning experience but also a memorable one. The visit also provided me with the opportunity to experience Korean culture and food in addition to the much-needed break to revamp my learning energy. I want to thank the UOW Global Challenge Travel Scholarship for funding my travel and also express my gratitude to my supervisors Professor Thomas and Associate Professor Xiaoqi for their encouragement and support during the scholarship application.
Residential self-selection, perceived built environment and type 2 diabetes incidence: a longitudinal analysis of 36,224 middle to older age adults
Tashi Dendup 1, Thomas Astell-Burt 1, 2, Xiaoqi Feng 1, 2
1 Population Wellbeing and Environment Research Lab (PowerLab), School of Health and Society, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Wollongong, NSW 2522, Australia. 2 Menzies Centre for Health Policy, School of Public Health, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia.
The evidence suggesting the influence of environmental characteristics on type 2 diabetes is growing. Much of the existing studies on the built environment and type 2 diabetes are cross-sectional and prone to residential self-selection bias. We investigated whether perceived built environment characteristics are associated with incident type 2 diabetes and assessed the potential confounding effect of residential self-section on the association.
We used data from the 45 and Up Study, a large longitudinal study of adults aged 45 years and above in New South Wales, Australia. A total of 36,224 participants free of type 2 diabetes in 2010 were followed up through 2015. Perceived measures of the built environment included the availability of local amenities, public transport, footpaths, and recreational facilities in the neighbourhood, and day- and night-time area crime rates. Multilevel logistic regression analysis adjusting for demographic, socioeconomic, and area-level factors, and some predictors of residential self-selection was used to estimate the odds of developing incident type 2 diabetes.
Of the total participants (44% males, 56% females), 3.7% developed type 2 diabetes at follow up. The mean (SD) age of the participants was 63.6 (9.37) years. We found that the odds of type 2 diabetes incidence varied geographically. Those who reported that there were no local amenities (AOR: 1.31, 95%CI: 1.14-1.49), and reported day-time (AOR: 1.38, 95%CI: 1.05-1.82) and night-time (AOR: 1.28, 95%CI: 1.10-1.48) crime rates made walking unsafe in the neighbourhood had higher odds of developing incident type 2 diabetes. These associations persisted after accounting for residential self-selection markers providing some support for causality. The association for other built environment characteristics was null or not strong. Although not strong, the analysis also suggests some differences by gender and duration of residence.
The findings suggest that bringing amenities close to residences and reducing crime rates in the neighbourhood may present opportunities to prevent type 2 diabetes. More longitudinal studies with a longer follow-up that also use objective measures and studies to discern the underlying mechanisms are needed to corroborate the findings. Changing the features of the residential built environment may be an important point of intervention for type 2 diabetes prevention.