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Ayo Lin Ince, '22

Princeton High School Researcher

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Hi! My name is Ayo Ince and I'm currently a senior at Princeton High School. I've been in PHS's Research Program for three years, and I'm exploring linkages among Food Choice, diet, and chronic illnesses in neighborhoods with different socioeconomic statuses and racial makeups. Generally speaking, I'm interested in the Social Determinants of Health and epidemiology.

My Research

Although Princeton and Trenton are only twelve miles apart, the gap in life expectancy between these two communities is fourteen years-  the life expectancy being 87 years in Princeton and 73 years in Trenton. While it is commonly thought that health outcomes are mainly influenced by genetics and access to high quality health care, in fact, there are a number of social factors that are more important to determining health outcomes. These factors, which include things such as economic stability and neighborhood environment, are referred to as the Social Determinants of Health and are estimated to account for 80 to 90 percent of a person’s health status. The World Health Organization stated that “a combination of faulty social policies, economic arrangements, and politics are accountable for the inequities in daily life which engender avoidable inequities in health.” 

As with life expectancy rates, Princeton and Trenton have significantly different rates of obesity and Type 2 Diabetes. In Princeton, 22% of men are obese, and 25% of men have type two diabetes, while in Trenton, 48% of men are obese and 44% of men have type two diabetes. I hypothesize that most of these disparities stem from differences in  diet, however, the topic hasn't been thoroughly investigated yet. My research investigates (1) what differences in food choices exist, and (2) how those differences affect diet in these different neighborhoods, resulting in the current disparities in rates of obesity and Type 2 Diabetes.