Research Projects

Assessing the Impact of Public Transit on Physical Activity: A Natural Experimental Study

 in El Paso, Texas

2016

 This study is to examine the causal impact of this new transit system on nearby residents’ PA. The case residents are adults who are not meeting the PA recommendation (150+min/week) at baseline and who later become BRT users (using 4+ one-way trips/week). The comparison residents are adults from the same neighborhoods as the case residents but who are not meeting the PA recommendation at baseline and not BRT users.

• Team Members: Drs. Lee, Li, and Ory (Co-PIs)
• Funded by: Program Development Fund, Office of the Vice Present for Research, Texas A&M University

 

Physical Activity Impacts of a Planned Activity-Friendly Community: The What, Where,

When and Why of Environmental Approaches to Obesity Prevention

2015-2020

 This study is to evaluate short-term and long-term changes in physical activity and in spatial and temporal patterns of physical activity, after sedentary or insufficiently active individuals move from non-Activity-Friendly Communities (AFC) to an AFC.

• Team Members: Drs. Lee, Zhu, and Ory (Co-PIs)
• Funded by: National Institute of Health

 

Evaluation of a Walking School Bus Program: A cluster randomized controlled trial

2012-2017

 This study is to evaluate the long-term efficacy of a Walking School Bus program to increase low-income, ethnic minority children’s active commuting to school and physical activity.

• Team Members: Mendoza (PI), Dr. Lee (Co-I/ Sub-award PI)
• Funded by: National Institute of Health

 

Neighborhood Safety, Physical Activity, and Obesity

2012-2014

This study is to examine the associations among neighborhood safety, physical activity, obesity, and health-related quality of life.

• Team Members: Forjuoh (PI), Dr. Lee (Co-PI)
• Funded by: Scott and White Hospital

 

Does an Activity-Friendly Community Improve Children's Physical Activity?:
Where, When, and How?

2012-2014

This study is to examine if and how moving to an activity-friendly community (a) increase children's physical activity, (b) promote positive attitudes and social supports for physical activity, and (c) reduced physical activity disparities among mixed-income residents.

• Team Members: Dr. Lee (Co-PI), Dr. Zhu (PI)
• Funded by: Johns Hopkins University

 

Evaluating Health Impacts of Walkable Communities:
Best Practices and a Toolkit for Future Design and Research

2012-2013

This study is to examine if walkable communities can increase physical activity, and how health impacts of walkable communities can be measured to guide community design and outcome evaluation.

• Team Members: Dr. Lee (Co-PI), Dr. Zhu (PI)
• Funded by: American Institute of Architects

 

Perceived and actual economic values of activity-friendly environments:
Willingness-to-pay and willingness-to use

2011-2013

This study is to evaluate economic values of living near activity-friendly resources and away from activity-hostile facilities, using visually simulated images to facilitate the evaluation process.

• Team Members: Dr. Lee (PI)
• Funded by: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

 

Policy Interventions for Green, Healthy and Economic School Transportation:
GIS-Based simulation and evaluation of multiple policy interventions

2011-2013

This study is to assess multiple policy intervention scenarios using GIS and propose evidence-based recommendations for future interventions.

• Team Members: Dr. Lee (Co-PI), Dr. Zhu (PI)
• Funded by: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation 

 

Federal Safe Routes to School Program:
Multi-State evaluation and national evaluation framework

2011-2013

This 5-State collaborative research is to conduct systematic and comparative evaluations of SRTS programs.

• Team Members: Dr. Lee (Co-PI), McDonald (PI)
• Funded by: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

 

Rural Town Walkability: Measuring the effect of the built environment

2010-2014

This study 3-region collaborative research is to identify built environmental elements that promote walking in small towns. Dr. Lee is the PI for the Texas region portion of the study.

• Team Members: Dr. Lee (Co-I/Sub-award PI), Doescher (PI)
• Funded by: National Institute of Health

 

Statewide Evaluation of Childhood Obesity Prevention Policies in Texas: 
Texas Safe Routes to School & Increased Healthy Food Access for WIC Clients (T-COPPE)

2008-2014

Routes to School & Increased Healthy Food Access for WIC Clients (T-COPPE).
This research is to conduct a statewide evaluation of two key childhood obesity prevention policies in Texas: the Safe Routes To School (SRTS) program; and the program rule revising the federal food allocation package administered through Texas Women, Infants and Children Nutrition Program. I am involved in the assessment of environmental factors and the SRTS program, and in the statistical analysis of the project.

• Team Members: Dr. Lee (Co-I), Ory & Hoelscher, Co-PI (Co-PI)
• Funded by: The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

 

The "Whys" and "Why Nots" of Active Living:
Barriers and Motivators among HighRisk Children

2009-2011

This research examines multi-level natural and virtual experiments to identify specific interventions effective in promoting walking and physical activity and reducing obesity among high-risk groups of children. It will identify barriers and otivators of active living; examine disparities in environmental supports for active living; and identify varying distance thresholds for walking in different environmental settings.

• Team Members: Dr. Lee(PI), Dr. Sui(Co- PI), Dr. Zhu(Project Manager & Co-PI), Dr. Varni(Co-I)
• Funded by: The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Active Living Research Program

 

Safety, Health, and Equity for Active School Transportation: Interactions among
Multi- Level Factors and Specific Needs of Low-Income Hispanic Children

2008-2011

This research aims: 1) to examine the mediating and moderating factors in the relationship between objective physical environment and active school transportation; 2) to examine the environmental supports and threats among low-income Hispanic children; and 3) to identify an acceptable walking distance for elementary school children and to test whether this distance varies by race or physical context.

• Team Members: Dr. Zhu(PI), Dr. Lee(Co-PI), Drs. Varni(Co-I), Dr.Kwok(Co-I)
• Funded by: The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Active Living Research Program

 

Urban Hispanic Perceptions of Environment and Activity among Kids (UH-PEAK)

2008-2011

This research assesses the role of environmental variables, child and maternal perceptions of physical activity friendliness of the home, school, and park environments in predicting physical activity behaviors among Hispanic elementary school students.

• Team Members: Dr. Olvera(PI), Dr. Lee(Co-PI), Dr. Bush(Co-I), Dr. Smith(Co-I)
• Funded by: The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Active Living Research Program

 

Assessing the Built Environment in Colonias to Influence Policy Promoting Physical
Activity in Mexican American Children and Families

2009-2010

Activity in Mexican American Children and Families
This study is to produce environmental policy recommendations promoting physical activity (PA) in economically-disadvantaged, understudied Mexican American children and families

• Team Members: Dr. Mier(PI), Dr. Lee(Co-I)
• Funded by: The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Salud America Program

 

Campus Environment, Diet and Activity:
Does the environment have a role in promoting health behaviors among TAMU students?

2008-2010

promoting health behaviors among TAMU students?
This pilot study is to explore the impact of food and physical activity environments where students live, work and study on energy expenditure. It will also compare diet and physical activity behaviors among under-weight, normal, overweight, and obese groups of students.

• Team Members: Dr. Lee(PI), Dr. Murano(Co-PI)
• Funded by: Institute for Obesity Research and Program Evaluation, Texas A&M University; and College Research and Interdisciplinary Council, College of Architecture, Texas A&M University

 

Promoting Walking among Obese and Diabetic Patients in Integrated Health Care Plans:
Physician and environmental determinants

2007-2009

It explores how the characteristics of the neighborhood environment influence physical activity and walking among those who are clinically obese and/or diabetic. It examines the extent to which health care providers encourage walking or provide specific written prescriptions for exercise for their patients, and are aware of the environmental influences on health behaviors.

• Team Members: Dr. Lee(Co-PI), Dr. Forjuoh(Co-PI), Dr. Ory(Co-I) 
• Funded by: Scott and White Hospital

 

Transportation Infrastructure and Quality of Life for Disadvantage Populations:
A pilot study of two colonias in Texas

2006-2008

It examines the quality of the transportation infrastructure and the overall built environment to identify factors that contribute to health and quality of life for the economically challenged, Hispanic populations living in Texas colonias (small border communities along the US-Mexico border).

• Team Members: Dr. Lee(Co-PI), Dr. Giusti(Co-PI), Dr. Lord(Co-PI) 
• Funded by: Southwest University Transportation Center, Texas Transportation Institute