University of Texas at Austin School of Social Work Study Funded by $1.5 Million American Cancer Society Grant

Oct. 6, 2010

AUSTIN, Texas — A University of Texas at Austin School of Social Work researcher has received a four-year $1.5 million grant from the American Cancer Society to look at how neighborhood environments influence obesity and smoking among women and their young children.

Obesity and smoking are important risk factors for cancer. Populations of color, low socio-economic groups and women suffer disproportionately from adverse neighborhood environments and disparities in cancer, said Dr. Catherine Cubbin, associate professor of social work. Preliminary data to support the proposal for the new study were acquired through pilot funding from the university's Population Research Center, where Cubbin is a research associate.

"In the United States, smoking rates are stagnant, and secondhand smoke continues to kill thousands every year," said Cubbin. "Obesity is epidemic and getting worse. These risk factors contribute to many cancers like lung, pancreatic, stomach, kidney, colon, uterine and breast cancers."

The study will be the first follow-up interview of nearly 6,000 respondents to the Maternal and Infant Health Assessment, a large and diverse set of participants representing women who gave birth in California. Interview data from women and their young children will be linked with data about their neighborhoods, including socio-economic and environmental characteristics, such as access to healthy affordable food, safe places to exercise, tobacco outlets and transportation opportunities.

"One question the study hopes to shed light on is how changes in neighborhood environments influence smoking and obesity," said Cubbin.

The elimination of health disparities by ethnicity and socio-economic status is a key public health priority, she said.

"Large numbers of children, youth and adult family members in the U.S. population," Cubbin said, "face substantial challenges to healthy development from poverty, family instability and disadvantages associated with minority status."

For more information, contact: Nancy Neff, School of Social Work, 512-657-6602; Catherine Cubbin, 512-232-8374.

10 Comments to "University of Texas at Austin School of Social Work Study Funded by $1.5 Million American Cancer Society Grant"

1.  Barbara W. White said on Oct. 8, 2010

Congratulations to Catherine on her successful effort!

2.  Kay Cubbin said on Oct. 9, 2010

Catherine, congratulations on receiving this grant. The results should prove to make a difference. Wishing you the best on the work ahead.

3.  Bob Cubbin said on Oct. 11, 2010

Congratulations, Catherine, this is great stuff. We are proud of you. The little engine that could...

4.  R. H. Richardson, Prof Emeritus said on Oct. 12, 2010

Congratulations for the effort, focus and design of your research project. I can't think of a better place to invest your "heart beats" and talent. Let us hope physicians and legislators are inspired to continue social and financial support for your research. Indeed, let us hope you catalyze a revolution of diet, exercise and attitude for a healthy population.

5.  Marie Green said on Oct. 14, 2010

Congratulations! Could this study be extended to the elderly obese smokers who live in low income neighborhoods? I have a friend who really needs help quitting smoking and can't afford anti-anxiety pills or Chantex in order to quit. Thanks! Marie Streit-Green

6.  Sam Nettles said on Oct. 14, 2010

I've been smoking since I was 10 years old. I'm now 74. Ninety percent of American adults smoked when I was a teenager. If the junk science American Cancer Society money-power studies were near correct, Americans today would all be dead! Three packs a day since I was in college hasn't killed me yet, and it didn't kill all the old healthy smokers I've known in my lifetime. I hope the 1.5 million dollars will be spent wisely.

7.  Leslie Odil said on Oct. 14, 2010

I retired from teaching last year and was contemplating a return to school to get a masters in social work. This may have cemented the deal. I am fascinated by this study and would love to be a part of it.

8.  Lourdes Viloria said on Oct. 16, 2010

Congratulations, I am an elementary school principal in South Texas- border. 98.9% of our school children get a free breakfast and lunch daily at our school. Poverty is one of the major reasons for obesity in my opinion. Food affordability and community resources are directly related to obesity. I would love to participate in this research-via our school.

9.  Chris said on Oct. 16, 2010

People need to stop smoking. This isn't an addiction so put it off. Anyone who smokes I have little to no respect for. There are many alternatives to smoking/drinking that I don't know why people would defer to those two habits. Come on now.

10.  Mary Mahoney said on Oct. 28, 2010

Keep up the good work, Dr. Cubbin!