The IPEN Adult study, funded by the National Institutes of Health and National Cancer Institute, was officially underway as of September 2009.

Congratulations and thanks to all the countries and members who helped secure this funding.

Numerous US and international agencies have identified environmental and policy interventions as the most promising strategies for improving physical activity, eating, and obesity.  The evidence base on environmental and policy factors is deficient in 3 important ways that the IPEN study will address: 

  1. Although the association between built environments and PA is widely accepted by authoritative groups like the CDC's Community Guide, accurate estimates of the strength of associations are not available because virtually all studies have limited environmental variability. If underestimated associations make it less likely that decision makers pursue built environment changes, then public health suffers.
  2. Several studies document associations between the built environment and weight outcomes, but confirmatory studies are needed, especially those conducted in diverse environments. 
  3. Measures are insufficiently detailed to give guidance about specific attributes of the built environment most likely to be effective interventions.

To accurately assess the strength of association of the built environment with physical activity and weight status, greater environmental variability is required than any one country can provide. Thus, we have undertaken a ground-breaking international study, funded by the National Cancer Institute, which uses a common design and measurement protocol to produce more accurate effect size estimates. Because US-only studies are expected to underestimate effect size, this international study will provide additional information to US decision makers.
The IPEN study builds on completed studies in the US and Australia.  Additional countries were selected to collect new data based on the strength of investigators, preliminary studies, and in some cases, existing partial funding.  Physical activity will be assessed by the validated long IPAQ survey, and built environment will be assessed by a validated built environment survey in all countries.  Pooled analyses will examine how specific environmental attributes are related to physical activity domains, leisure and transport. Most countries also will have objective measures: accelerometry for physical activity; Geographic Information System data for environmental attributes. 
All countries are selecting neighborhoods that vary on walkability and recruiting a minimum of 500 adults aged 20-65. Data will be entered via the web to a central server, and adherence to all protocols and data quality will be monitored. Analyses will account for multi-level data.

There are currently 12 countries contributing data to a pooled analyses. Please click on the following links to read more about IPEN research in these countries:

Czech Republic
Hong Kong
Mexico (coming soon)
New Zealand
United Kingdom
United States

At this time, all of our IPEN funds have been allocated and data collection is now complete in most countries.

We are not funding any additional countries to IPEN pooled analyses in our adult study, but in future may accept comparable data from other countries. We have submitted a grant proposal to NIH to conduct an IPEN-Adolescent study and are considering doing the same for an IPEN-Senior (older adults) study.   

If you think you may be interested in contributing to the IPEN-Adolescent or an IPEN Senior study, we encourage you to get in touch with us.  We require that participating collaborators seek their own funding (typically through their own local funding sources), but we can provide some support in this process if necessary.  For example, to help serious applicants, we are able to share our successful grant proposals to use as models and we can write letters of support. Please contact us for more details.


An IPEN Adult group met in Sydney, Australia in October, 2012.



IPEN Study investigators met in Melbourne in June 2011.

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