No description available.
Gordon, Phoebe E.
No description available.
Background: Obesity is a multifactorial disease caused by the interplay of environmental and genetic risk factors. With the prevalence of obesity more than doubling since 1980, this disease has become a global epidemic. The objectives of this research were to (1) review the current evidence of gene-environment interactions (GEI) in the field of obesity, (2) investigate novel GEI involving sedentary behaviour, sleep duration and alcohol consumption, (3) assess GEI using a cumulative environmental risk score, and (4) provide an overview of methodological weaknesses in GEI studies and provide suggestions for future directions. Methods: The data for the gene-environment interaction analyses were collected from the EpiDREAM study: a cohort study including participants of six ethnic backgrounds from 17 countries worldwide. A subset of 17 423 participants with complete genotype and phenotype information was included in the analysis. Twenty-three obesity predisposing single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were analyzed independently and as a genetic risk score (GRS). Linear regression models were used to analyze these interactions. Results: Heritability, monogenic and polygenic obesity studies provide converging evidence that obesity-predisposing genes interact with a variety of environmental exposures including physical activity and diet patterns. In the EpiDREAM cohort, we found that increased sedentary time did not interact with obesity predisposing SNPs or the GRS to modulate BMI. The interaction between sedentary time and physical activity was also not significant. We observed a U-shaped association between sleep duration and BMI and sleep duration did not appear to moderate the impact of the obesity predisposing SNPs or the GRS. However, we did observe an alcohol x FTO rs1421085 interaction, whereby increased alcohol consumption attenuated the impact of FTO rs1421085 variation on BMI. We also found that the combined effect of several environmental risk factors significantly modified the effect of FTO rs3751812 on BMI. Specifically, we found that the effect of the FTO rs3751812 SNP on BMI was over two times greater among those in the highest quartile of environmental risk compared to those in the lowest quartile. The GRS did not interact with any of the exposures tested. Discussion: Our results indicate that sedentary behaviour did not moderate the impact of obesity predisposing genes, while alcohol consumption decreased the impact of variation in FTO rs3751812 on BMI. We also observed that variation in FTO rs3751812 interacted with a cumulative environmental risk score to moderate BMI. The growing body of GEI evidence has provided a deeper understanding of obesity aetiology and may have tremendous applications in the emerging field of personalized medicine and individualized lifestyle recommendations. Although the number of gene-environment interaction analyses has increased rapidly across multiple disciplines, addressing methodological concerns such as statistical modeling, confounding, biological assumptions and measurement precision will be necessary to fully exploit the potential of the GEI field. With the development of new methodological and measurement techniques such as hypothesis-free genome wide interaction studies and deep phenotyping, it may be possible to translate the information from GEI studies into public health policy and personalized medicine for obesity and other complex human diseases. / Thesis / Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Translating it into real life: a qualitative study of the cognitions, barriers and supports for key obesogenic behaviors of parents of preschoolersMartin-Biggers, Jennifer, Spaccarotella, Kim, Hongu, Nobuko, Alleman, Gayle, Worobey, John, Byrd-Bredbenner, Carol January 2015 (has links)
BACKGROUND: Little is known about preschool parents' cognitions, barriers, supports and modeling of key obesogenic behaviors, including breakfast, fruit and vegetable consumption, sugary beverage intake, feeding practices, portion sizes, active playtime, reduced screen-time, sleep and selection of child-care centers with characteristics that promote healthy behaviors. METHODS: Thus, the purpose of this study was to examine these factors via survey and focus groups among 139 parents of 2- to 5-year-old children. Standard content analysis procedures were used to identify trends and themes in the focus group data, and Analysis of Variance was used to test for differences between groups in the survey data. RESULTS: Results showed 80% of parents ate breakfast daily, consumed sugary beverages 2.7 ± 2.5SD days per week, and had at least two different vegetables and fruits an average of 5.2 ± 1.8SD and 4.6 ± 2.0SD days per week. Older parents and those with greater education drank significantly fewer sugary drinks. Parents played actively a mean 4.2 ± 2.2 hours/week with their preschoolers, who watched television a mean 2.4 ± 1.7 hours/day. Many parents reported having a bedtime routine for their preschooler and choosing childcare centers that replaced screen-time with active play and nutrition education. Common barriers to choosing healthful behaviors included lack of time; neighborhood safety; limited knowledge of portion size, cooking methods, and ways to prepare healthy foods or play active indoor games; the perceived cost of healthy options, and family members who were picky eaters. Supports for performing healthful behaviors included planning ahead, introducing new foods and behaviors often and in tandem with existing preferred foods and behaviors, and learning strategies from other parents. CONCLUSIONS: Future education programs with preschool parents should emphasize supports and encourage parents to share helpful strategies with each other.
A theoretical framework for conserving cultural values of heritage buildings in Malaysia from the perspective of facilities managementBin Hasbollah, H. R. January 2014 (has links)
This thesis aims to develop a Theoretical Framework for Conserving Cultural Values of Heritage Buildings in Malaysia from the perspective of Facilities Management. It proposes the establishment of Cultural Values of Heritage Buildings (CVHB) and Facilities Management (FM) in sustaining the physical condition, authenticity, and integrity of heritage buildings in Malaysia. The linkages between CVHB and FM will help to produce guidelines for conserving CVHB from the FM perspective (CVHB-FM) at the initial phase of conservation in Malaysia. The thesis adapted the Critical Realist approach in understanding the world by distinguishing the reality from factual and empirical, and recognising the social structures in the phenomenon. The research process “onion” was adapted to achieve the goal of the thesis. A Case-Study was conducted based on Malacca’s World Heritage City. A single holistic embedded approach was employed from the three levels of conservation practitioners who were strategic, tactical, and operational. The Matrix Thematic mapped the main elements of the study (CVHB, FM, conservation practitioners, and conservation documents) in a robust manner. Expert Interviews and Document Reviews were the main tools used in gathering the data. The raw qualitative data was then analysed via Content Analysis and Template Analysis. This thesis identifies the CVHB as being social, economic, political, historic, aesthetical, scientific, age, and ecological. These were associated and epistemologically constructed with FM perspectives of people, place, process, and technology. The embedded levels of respondents from the conservation practitioners have explained and elaborated on the connotation between the characteristics of CVHB and FM in developing the theoretical framework of the research. The thesis also provided insights into how the perspective of FM was associated with CVHB criteria in conserving a heritage building in Malaysia.
Coordination and management of information for construction design projects : a framework for PortugalBiscaya, S. V. N. January 2012 (has links)
In the construction industry in Portugal, the coordination and management of information for construction design projects has been neglected. The use of classification systems and protocols for the communication of information amongst the different stakeholders is poor and inefficient. This research aims to explore the viability of developing a systematic approach to the coordination of information amongst the multiple project stakeholders in the Portuguese Construction Industry. Bearing this in mind, the core research question of this doctoral thesis is: What sort of framework and guidelines are needed for the successful implementation of a classification information system for construction project design data in Portugal, which is accessible to all stakeholders involved? A mixed methods approach was developed for this purpose, with emphasis given to qualitative research techniques. Methods used comprised: literature review, quantitative survey, semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions. Whereas quantitative research methods contributed to a more rigorous interpretation process, qualitative research methods offered a solid description of the former. This methodology was used in order to establish and design a conceptual classification framework model for information coordination and management throughout the design project and construction in Portugal. First, constraints and enablers to framework development and implementation were identified at all levels: political, cultural and behaviour, legal, technical and educational, economic and financial, and organizational issues. Three overarching issues were also identified: corruption, lack of accountability and non-compliance timelines/deadlines. Then, a conceptual framework was developed, detailing 1) content, 2) characteristics of an environment conductive to a successful development, implementation and use of the framework, and 3) guidelines to its dissemination.
Urban development and the urban planning responses to social diversity and potential conflict in IndonesiaSetiawan, W. January 2014 (has links)
The history of communal, violent conflicts has put Indonesia on the map after its crisis in 1998. As an ‘extraordinarily diverse’ country, the recent conflicts and the social diversity of Indonesia has led to a need to understand the importance of the relationships among societies. Several researchers have attempted to explain the reasoning behind the incidents, but they have mostly approached the matter from social and political perspectives. Another shortcoming of the existing research is the diverse use of methodology and thematic choices, and thus researchers have reached different conclusions. To better understand the dynamics of conflict, a study needs to be conducted into the violent conflicts in Indonesia which will draw on data from similar types of conflict. Although some discussions in urban development and urban policy delivery arise in relation to social diversity issues and the potential conflicts, they are often unrelated to the context of a developing country, such as Indonesia. This research aims to establish a framework of urban planning and development direction in response to the social diversity issues which might lead to communal conflict in Indonesia. The framework achieves this through a number of objectives: observing the relationship between social diversity, communal conflict, and urban development, and exploring the elements of urban planning practices relevant to urban diversity and potential conflicts. The research looks at the context of communal conflicts during the end of 1990s and early 2000s, which happened in three urban environments: Solo, Poso, and Sambas. The case studies involve an in-depth interview with 38 respondents, and an additional six respondents for the verification. The research adapts the Grounded Theory approach in the analysis of the data. The findings reveal that the emerging issues are moving from personal level to city level. The pattern indicates that communal conflicts at a personal level could grow exponentially into a larger conflict at city level. An urban planning strategy could help in mitigating the potential conflicts, particularly from the community level. Community-level development would need to mediate a larger planning agenda to be able to improve the performance of personal-level development. In response to communal conflicts, urban planning practice could respond indirectly by taking social diversity into account. The result contributes to three levels of development stakeholders: the government, urban planning practitioners, and the general population. This would help urban policy makers to take action. This also provides an idea of what researchers and urban planning practitioners should look at to deal with the issues of violent conflicts, particularly in developing countries.
An investigation into the challenges faced by Libyan Phd students in Britain : a study of the three Universities in Manchester and SalfordAldoukalee, S. January 2014 (has links)
As a developing country, Libya has prioritised the growth of human capital as a means to achieve the government’s Libyanisation programme. This concern for the country’s human development has been evident in its attempts to educate and train Libyan nationals in overseas establishments. However, despite Libya’s intention to benefit from established Higher Education systems internationally, the political difficulties that arose in 1993 did result in a serious setback. These particular problems emerged when UN sanctions were brought to bear on the country. The impact of such sanctions was evident in the subsequent years, when a drop occurred in the numbers of postgraduate students being funded for PhD programmes in both Britain and the United States, and as fewer students were sent to these countries, Libya naturally suffered since the national labour force did not progress in capability as much as had been hoped. In April 2004, the last of the sanctions against Libya was lifted, since relations with Britain and the United States normalised, with the result that Libya’s economic development went ahead at full pace. This has been seen by growing investment in the economy by foreign investors, and a growth in the privatisation of manufacturing and service companies. Such moves and economic reform measures require appropriately qualified personnel, and large numbers of students once again began to be sent overseas (to Britain and America) for PhD study, marking a large investment on the part of the Libyan government. However, it is clear that certainly in the UK, Libyan PhD students encounter many challenges which detract from their effective performance on their PhD programmes and which generally result in requests for extensions to their study. Consequently, this research project has investigated those challenges using a quantitative approach in which 150 questionnaires have been completed by Libyan PhD students within three UK universities. Of these questionnaires, 135 (90% response rate) usable returns have been processed questionnaires. Additionally, interviews were held with three officials in the Libyan Embassy for the purpose of triangulating the data obtained from the survey, and establishing overall statistics relating to the performance of Libyan nationals on PhD programmes in UK universities. The findings reveal that Libyan PhD students face challenges that call into four different categories - English Language Difficulties, English Courses/Preparation, PhD Concern, and Family Commitment – and that within these, there are eleven separate factors that contribute to the problems encountered. Recommendations as to how these challenges can be reduced are offered.
An activity-based cost controlling model for improving the management of construction project overheadsJaya, N. M. January 2014 (has links)
The construction industry was considered very important as it contributed a significant part of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the economic development of any country. Construction projects appeared to have high expenditures and complex processes that involved a wide range of participants, stakeholders, investments, and technologies. This continued to increase construction project overheads considerably. Project overheads were common to multiple cost objects, but cannot readily be allocated directly to particular construction activities. The traditional costing system added project overheads to construction cost on a percentage basis, which often provided inaccurate distributions for most of the activities. The current cost accounting management approach focused too much on satisfying external standard requirements, consequently paying little attention to internal cost management improvements. This research proposed an Activity-Based Cost Controlling (ABCC) model through the identification of overheads in construction projects, the analysis of Critical Success Factors (CSFs), and application of the Activity-Based Costing (ABC) system for improving the Cost Management and Controlling Practices (CMCPs) of construction project overheads. The critical realist philosophical stance with multiple case studies was adopted for this research. Data collection used questionnaire survey, project documentation, observations, and interviews. Data analysis utilised descriptive statistics, Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP), the ABC system and Earned Value Measurement System (EVMS), content analysis and cognitive mapping. Forty seven generic overheads were identified, however, eight overheads were eliminated for construction projects. The remaining 39 overheads were the most often present in construction projects and were categorised into Unit, Batch, Project, and Facility levels. 40 CSFs were identified and grouped into eight, out of which three were identified as priority areas (requirement of a robust method and tool - METOOL, understanding the market condition - MARCON, and managing project complexity - PROCOM). The ABCC model was developed using three themes: the construction project overheads, the ABC system, and the CMCPs. The top three priority CSFs were incorporated into the CMCPs’ tools and techniques for implementation of the ABCC model. The opinions of experts (senior and operational management levels) were used to validate the ABCC model, which generated 36 concepts that were incorporated into the model during the refinement stage. Therefore, the ABCC model was developed for improving the management of construction project overheads to increase the body of knowledge.
Mohd Zin, I. N.
Construction organisations have often been criticised for resistance to change and for failing to adopt innovative approaches to improve future business performance. Thus, the aims of this research is to improve knowledge-sharing approaches in construction organisations in Malaysia for improved performance, and the development of a conceptual model to support the implementation and embedding of appropriate knowledge-sharing approaches. It is anticipated that this will aid the implementation of knowledge-sharing approaches within Malaysia construction organisations and ultimately contribute to an improvement in organisation performance. This research employed both quantitative and qualitative approaches. Using random sampling, 1000 questionnaires were distributed to managers of small, medium and large construction organisations in Malaysia. Of these, 384 were useful for data analyses, a 38% valid response rate. To complement the questionnaire survey, 49 semi-structured interviews were conducted with top, mid and junior level managers of these organisations. Content analysis was used to analyse the information obtained through these interviews, whilst descriptive and inferential statistics were used to analyse the questionnaire survey. The results suggest that internet technologies as the most used formal approaches to knowledge sharing, and face to face social interactions as the most used informal approaches to knowledge sharing that are presently employed in Malaysian construction organisations. There is no significant difference in formal and informal approaches to knowledge sharing employed across different sizes and different managerial level of Malaysian construction organisations. In particular developing a knowledge-sharing strategy and integrating this into the company’s goals and strategic approach was regarded as the most challenging aspect in setting up knowledge-sharing approaches. Choosing an appropriate method to assess the impact of knowledge-sharing initiatives on business performance have found as the main challenges in implementing knowledge-sharing approaches by the construction organisations. The research further revealed that providing a conducive workplace setting, and providing training for education, personal and team development for effective knowledge sharing as most ready to setup and implement knowledge-sharing approaches. Furthermore this research has also recognised that the construction organisations can benefit from knowledge-sharing approaches in different ways to different size of organisation. The findings also indicate that the three top contributions of knowledge-sharing approaches to organisation performance are: increases efficient operations and reduces costs, improves better decision-making, and improves project and services delivery to the market. There is also conclude that no one knowledge sharing approaches that is likely to lead to successful outcomes in all organisations, but there are certain issues worthy of consideration in developing knowledge-sharing initiatives that offers potential for success. The realisation of this success will, however, depend on a host of factors, including organisational culture, structure and human resource practices. The findings from the research were then used to develop a conceptual model for the successful implementation of knowledge sharing in organisations and validated using a validation questionnaire survey within a range of SMEs and large construction organisations. The model presents a holistic way of accounting the key factors that impact upon the successful implementation of knowledge sharing in construction organisations. Such knowledge is essential to the management of construction organisations for achieving meaningful improvement in their approach to foster knowledge sharing.
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