National Cancer Institute
Behavioral Research - Cancer Control and Population Sciences

Health Behaviors Research: Research Areas

Health Behavior/Health Disparities

Significant ethnic/racial, socioeconomic, and gender disparities remain in the U.S. population with respect to the proportion of individuals engaging in regular exercise, eating health diets, and obesity levels. The Health Promotion Research Branch encourages research aimed at assessing and reducing these health behavior disparities. In addition, research is encourage to examine the environmental, organizational, cultural, social, familial and individual factors that may contribute to these cancer-related health behaviors.

Audie Atienza, PhD

Tanya Agurs-Collins, PhD, RD

View all Health Promotion Funding Opportunities


American Time Use Survey (ATUS)
The American Time Use Survey (ATUS) is an annual household telephone survey launched in 2003 by the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics to assess how individuals in the U.S. (ages 15 years and older) spend their time. Respondents sequentially recall the type and duration of each activity that was performed on the previous day (across a 24-hour period). Follow-up questions assessed where and with whom each activity occurred. The Economic Research Service (ERS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture along with the National Cancer Institute recently sponsored an Eating and Health Module on the 2006 ATUS. This module assesses time spent in eating and drinking activities, grocery shopping, and meal preparation. Measures of the health status and Body Mass Index are also included. The ATUS is a public use dataset that offers exciting potential for research on a broad array of health, social, and policy topics.

Audie Atienza, PhD

Health Disparities in Estrogen Receptor Negative Breast Cancer Working Group
The propose of this NCI multidisciplinary working group is to examine the state of the science in ER negative breast cancer and to identify research objectives with the goal of narrowing the gap in breast cancer health disparities and contributing to the progress in prevention, control, and treatment of estrogen receptor negative (ERN) breast cancer. The working group sponsored a "Health Disparities in Estrogen Receptor Negative Breast Cancer Think Tank" held at NIH on November 1-2, 2007. The meeting featured a multidisciplinary array of leading researchers and clinicians who have a keen interest in ERN breast cancers. The working group is developing an RFA that offers a trans-disciplinary approach to prevent and reduce ER negative breast cancer morbidity and mortality in African American women.

Tanya Agurs-Collins, PhD, RD

Family Care Givers (coming soon)

Caregivers of Cancer Patients Supplement. (OCS/ARP/BRP partnership)
OCS/ARP/BRP sponsored a supplement to the CANCORS Initiative focused on the caregivers of cancer patients and survivors. The purpose of this study is to better understand the experiences, including health behaviors, of those providing care to loved ones with lung or colorectal cancer.

Reports & Publications

Dunton, G. F., Berrigan, D., Ballard-Barbash, R., Graubard, B., & Atienza, A. A. (2008). Social and Physical Environments of Sports and Exercise Reported Among Adults in the American Time Use Survey. Preventive Medicine.

Last Updated: February 14, 2012

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