Frequently Asked Questions

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Why is National Cancer Institute involved?  

The long term goal is to understand what community designs encourage residents to engage in behaviors known to prevent cancer.  Going for a walk, walking to a TRAX stop, using the bike path along North Temple, or simply feeling good about the neighborhood may be related to the types of healthy behaviors that reduce the risk of breast, colon, and other forms of cancer.  Many communities are considering changing their designs to what Salt Lake is doing, so this study will see what the residents think about these changes and how they alter travel and activity patterns. 

Can you provide more details about what I would do? 

A research assistant will meet with you in your home or elsewhere to give you a survey to assess your feelings about your neighborhood and its ongoing changes. As a University of Utah study, we always have you sign an informed consent form that details your rights as a participant—especially that your participation is confidential and voluntary.  We also measure your height and weight and provide you with two small gadgets to wear for a week.  A motion meter or accelerometer is worn on a belt around your waist to measure patterns of movement and intensity of activity.  A GPS unit creates a map of your travel patterns.  At the end of the week we download the data onto a research laptop to show whether and where the gadgets measured healthy activities, such as a brisk walk.  But you don’t have to be a regular walker to participate.  It is important for the science to have a cross section of neighborhood adults participate.  We do not want you to change your activities to participate.  The beginning and end of the week visit take about 45-60 minutes each. 

How long does the study run?

We are conducting the first phase from spring through fall, 2012 and the second phase in about 2013 or 2014, with a short follow-up about a year later.

Did you send or leave me a letter or flyer about the study?

We do send out or leave copies of our invitation letter, which is signed by Dr. Barbara Brown, Principal investigator.  The research assistants assigned to your area may leave a phone number for you to contact or may leave a letter or flyer at your address.

What do the gadgets measure?

These gadgets measure activity levels and places visited.  The motion meter measures acceleration.  So if you are mopping a floor it will indicate more movement than if you are sitting down and jiggling your foot.  But it does not tell us what exactly you are doing, just how much movement is involved.  The GPS can make a map of travel patterns when the data are downloaded with you at the end of the week.  The data are stored on the GPS unit, not transmitted anywhere during the week. Together the two gadgets can identify certain types of activity, like walking or riding on a bus.

What do you do to keep my information confidential? 

The University of Utah requires that we make every effort to protect your confidentiality within the limits of the law.  We do not ask for your social security number.  All personal information is kept in locked cabinets and secured computers and web sites.  We assign each participant an arbitrary code number and keep your name and address separate from the data files we create.  A key that links your number to your name and contact information is kept in a separate locked file so that we can contact you again in for the next round of the study. 

Information for current participants

We appreciate your participation!  If you have any questions or concerns during your week of participation, please contact us. If you wish to speak with the project manager, please call 801-587-5664 (if you wish to speak to the principal investigator, call Dr. Barbara Brown at 801-581-7111).

In case you lost your forms, here are links to:

In case you describe the study to a neighbor and they are interested in participating, please have them contact us.  We cannot guarantee they will be eligible but we would love to discuss the possibility with them.