Executive Director of Doctoral Studies
Associate Professor of Public Health Nutrition
Dr. Niyati Parekh’s research and teaching are motivated by a deep commitment to reduce nutrition-related disease outcomes in at-risk groups. In pursuit of this goal, as a nutritional epidemiologist, she has developed a robust research portfolio that examines the intersection of biological and behavioral factors of non-communicable diseases in US populations. The overarching theme of her research program is to examine the role of nutrition and diet-related factors in the etiology of non-communicable diseases, with a particular focus on obesity, metabolic dysregulation and cancer. Her multidisciplinary research integrates the intricacies from four distinct areas of expertise: disease biology, nutritional biochemistry, epidemiology and biostatistics. She has developed a research program with three interconnected areas that are unified under the theme of investigating diet and non-communicable diseases in populations, using epidemiologic methods. The first arm consists of leveraging existing data to identify dietary patterns, dietary quality and food consumption patterns in populations of interest. The second is to identify dietary determinants and biomarkers that predict disease outcomes including obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer. The third arm is to measure diets using novel dietary assessment methods that will contribute to more accurate and multi-dimensional measurement of diet. The three areas of her work complement each other and reveal preventive measures for populations, inform health policy and guide clinical practice. She has 75 peer-reviewed publications and her work has been supported by awards from the American Cancer Society and NIH.
Dr. Parekh holds an MS in Clinical Nutrition from Mumbai University and a PhD in Nutritional Sciences with a minor in Population Health Sciences from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (2005). After completing a 2-year postdoctoral fellowship in Cancer Epidemiology at the Cancer Institute of New Jersey-Rutgers, she joined New York University Steinhardt’s Department of Nutrition, Food Studies and Public Health in January 2008. With doctoral and postdoctoral training in epidemiological methods, she cross-pollinated the fields of nutrition and public health. In 2015, as Associate Professor of Public Health Nutrition, she transitioned to NYU’s newly launched School of Global Public Health (GPH), as Director of the Public Health Nutrition program (until 2019). She also has an affiliated appointment at the Department of Population Health-Grossman School of Medicine.
Her recent honors include being inducted as a New York Academy of Medicine Fellow, and her appointment as Independent Consultant at UNICEF. She has served the American Society for Nutrition as Chair of the Nutritional Epidemiology Research Group. She teaches graduate courses in the New York Campus and at study abroad sites (Mexico, Abu Dhabi and Florence). Graduate courses taught include Global Nutrition, Nutritional Epidemiology, Perspectives in Public Health and Global Cancer Epidemiology for which she has received awards. Dr. Parekh has served as the Executive Director of Doctoral Programs at GPH since 2017. In this role, she supports about 30 PhD students, and promotes all aspects of their rigorous research and professional development towards impactful careers.
BS, Life Sciences and Biotechnology, Mumbai University, IndiaMS, Foods, Nutrition, and Clinical Dietetics, Mumbai University, IndiaPhD, Nutritional Sciences (minor Population Health Sciences), University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI
CancerChronic DiseasesEpidemiologyNutritionObesityPopulation HealthPublic Health Nutrition
Food assistance programs and income are associated with the diet quality of grocery purchases for households consisting of women of reproductive age or young childrenLitvak, J., Parekh, N., Juul, F., & Deierlein, A.
Journal titlePreventive Medicine
Volume138AbstractWomen's diet quality during reproductive years and children's diet quality during early life influence long term health. Few studies have evaluated the impact of food assistance programs and income on the diet quality of grocery purchases made by households consisting of women of reproductive age and young children. We used data from the Food Acquisition and Purchase Survey 2012–2013 (FoodAPS) to evaluate how household income, Special Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) participation, and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participation are related to the diet quality of grocery purchases made by households that include women of reproductive age or young children (n = 2436). The diet quality of household grocery purchases was assessed with the Healthy Eating Index (HEI) 2015. HEI-2015 total score (0−100) and component scores were evaluated according to household income (eligible for WIC: income-to-poverty ratio ≤ 185%; ineligible for WIC: income-to-poverty ratio > 185%) and WIC, SNAP, and WIC + SNAP participation. Median HEI-2015 total score was lowest among SNAP households and highest among income ineligible for WIC and WIC households (47.2 and 54.1, respectively). Compared to income ineligible for WIC households, WIC + SNAP and SNAP households had lower HEI-2015 whole fruit (β = −0.30, 95% CI: −0.59, −0.01 and β = −0.41, 95% CI: −0.63, −0.20, respectively) and total vegetable scores (β = −0.58, 95% CI: −0.83, −0.32 and β = −0.27, 95% CI: −0.45, −0.08, respectively). The diet quality of grocery purchases in this population varies according to household income and food assistance participation.
Greater adherence to a Mediterranean-like diet is associated with later breast development and menarche in peripubertal girlsSzamreta, E. A., Qin, B., Rivera-Núñez, Z., Parekh, N., Barrett, E. S., Ferrante, J., Lin, Y., & Bandera, E. V.
Journal titlePublic Health Nutrition
Page(s)1020-1030AbstractObjective: To examine adherence to a Mediterranean-like diet at age 9-10 years in relation to onset of breast development (thelarche) and first menstruation (menarche).Design: We evaluated the associations of adherence to a Mediterranean-like diet (measured by an adapted Mediterranean-like Diet Score, range 0-9) with thelarche at baseline, age at thelarche and time to menarche. Data were collected at baseline during a clinic visit, complemented with a mailed questionnaire and three 24 hour telephone dietary recalls, followed by annual follow-up questionnaires. Multivariable Poisson regression, linear regression and Cox proportional hazards regression were used to evaluate timing of pubertal development in relation to diet adherence.Setting: New Jersey, USA.Participants: Girls aged 9 or 10 years at baseline (2006-2014, n 202).Results: High Mediterranean-like diet adherence (score 6-9) was associated with a lower prevalence of thelarche at baseline compared with low adherence (score 0-3; prevalence ratio = 0·65, 95 % CI 0·48, 0·90). This may have been driven by consumption of fish and non-fat/low-fat dairy. Our models also suggested a later age at thelarche with higher Mediterranean-like diet adherence. Girls with higher Mediterranean-like diet adherence had significantly longer time to menarche (hazard ratio = 0·45, 95 % CI 0·28, 0·71 for high v. low adherence). Further analysis suggested this may have been driven by vegetable and non-fat/low-fat dairy consumption.Conclusions: Consuming a Mediterranean-like diet may be associated with older age at thelarche and menarche. Further research is necessary to confirm our findings in other US paediatric populations and elucidate the mechanism through which Mediterranean-like diet may influence puberty timing.
Health behaviours during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic: Implications for obesityParekh, N., & Deierlein, A. L.
Journal titlePublic Health Nutrition
Page(s)3121-3125AbstractObjective: Obesity is a risk factor for severe complications and death from the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Public health efforts to control the pandemic may alter health behaviors related to weight gain, inflammation, and poor cardiometabolic health, exacerbating the prevalence of obesity, poor immune health, and chronic diseases. Design: We reviewed how the pandemic adversely influences many of these behaviors, specifically physical activity, sedentary behaviors, sleep, and dietary intakes, and provided individual level strategies that may be used to mitigate them. Results: At the community level and higher, public health and health care professionals need to advocate for intervention strategies and policy changes that address these behaviors, such as increasing nutrition assistance programs and creating designated areas for recreation and active transportation, to reduce disparities among vulnerable populations. Conclusions: The long-lasting impact of the pandemic on health behaviors, and the possibility of a second COVID-19 wave, emphasize the need for creative and evolving, multi-level approaches to assist individuals in adapting their health behaviors to prevent both chronic and infectious diseases.
Longitudinal dimensions of alcohol consumption and dietary intake in the Framingham Heart Study Offspring Cohort (1971-2008)Parekh, N., Lin, Y., Chan, M., Juul, F., & Makarem, N.
Journal titleBritish Journal of NutritionAbstractExisting studies addressing alcohol consumption have not captured the multidimensionality of drinking patterns, including drinking frequency, binge drinking, beverage preference and changes in these measures across the adult life course. We examined longitudinal trends in drinking patterns and their association with diet over four decades in ageing US adults from the Framingham Offspring Study (n 4956; baseline mean age 36·2 years). Alcohol intake (drinks/week, drinking frequency, beverage-specific consumption, drinks/occasion) was assessed quadrennially from examinations 1 to 8. Participants were classified as binge drinkers, moderate drinkers or heavy drinkers (4+ and 5+ drinks/occasion; ≤1 and ≤2 drinks/d and >7 and >14 drinks/week for women and men, respectively). Dietary data were collected by a FFQ from examinations 5 to 8 (1991-2008). We evaluated trends in drinking patterns using linear mixed effect models and compared dietary intake across drinking patterns using heterogeneous variance models. Alcohol consumption decreased from 1971 to 2008 (3·7 v. 2·2 oz/week; P < 0·05). The proportion of moderate (66 v. 59·3 %), heavy (18·4 v. 10·5 %) and binge drinkers (40·0 v. 12·3 %) declined (P < 0·05). While average wine consumption increased (1·4 v. 2·2 drinks/week), beer (3·4 v. 1·5 drinks/week) and cocktail intake (2·8 v. 1·2 drinks/week) decreased. Non-binge drinkers consumed less sugary drinks and more whole grains than binge drinkers, and the latter consumed more total fat across all examinations (P < 0·05). There was a significant difference in consumption trends of total grains by drinking level (P < 0·05). In conclusion, alcohol drinking patterns are unstable throughout adulthood. Higher intakes were generally associated with poorer diets. These analyses support the nuanced characterisation of alcohol consumption in epidemiological studies.
Prenatal dietary exposures and offspring body size from 6 months to 18 years: A systematic reviewLitvak, J., Parekh, N., & Deierlein, A.
Journal titlePaediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology
Page(s)171-189AbstractBackground: In utero dietary exposures may influence childhood obesity. Objectives: To evaluate the relationship between prenatal dietary exposures and offspring body size from 6 months to 18 years. Data sources: Articles were identified in PubMed and Web of Science (January 2010-March 2018) using the PRISMA guidelines. Additional studies were identified through a reference review of articles that met the inclusion criteria and related reviews. Study selection: Prospective cohort studies that assessed dietary patterns, foods, macronutrients, or beverages during healthy pregnancy and offspring body size. The extraction of articles was done using predefined data fields. Synthesis: One author extracted all information and evaluated bias with the NHLBI's Quality Assessment Tool. Results: A total of 851 research articles were evaluated. Twenty-one studies assessing dietary patterns, macronutrients, foods, and beverages met inclusion criteria. Consumption of a Mediterranean dietary pattern during pregnancy was associated with reduced body size, while refined carbohydrates were associated with offspring obesity. No association was observed between data-driven dietary patterns and offspring body size, as well as a pro-inflammatory diet pattern and offspring body size. Mixed and null findings were observed for the relationship between total carbohydrates, n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, protein, sugar-sweetened beverages, and artificially sweetened beverages and offspring body size. Conclusions: Adhering to a Mediterranean diet and limiting refined carbohydrates during pregnancy may influence offspring body size between 6 months and 18 years. The diverging results that exist between studies highlight the complexity of this topic.
Preventing type 2 diabetes among South Asian Americans through community-based lifestyle interventions: A systematic reviewAli, S. H., Misra, S., Parekh, N., Murphy, B., & DiClemente, R. J.
Journal titlePreventive Medicine Reports
Volume20AbstractEthnic South Asian Americans (SAAs) have the highest relative risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) in the United States (US). Culturally tailored lifestyle interventions have the potential to promote South Asian diabetes prevention; however, the extent of their use and evaluation in US settings remains limited. This systematic review characterizes and evaluates outcomes of community-based lifestyle interventions targeted towards T2DM indicators among South Asians living in the US. A PRISMA-informed search of Pubmed, Embase, Cochrane, Web of Science, and clinical trial registry databases using key words pertaining to South Asians migrants and diabetes indicators (glucose and insulin outcomes) was conducted of community-based lifestyle interventions published up until October, 31 2019. Of the eight studies included in the final synthesis, four interventions focused on cultural and linguistic adaptations of past chronic disease prevention curricula using group-based modalities to deliver the intervention. Hemoglobin A1c (A1c) was the most common outcome indicator measured across the interventions. Three of the five studies observed improvements in indicators post-intervention. Based on these findings, this review recommends 1) greater exploration of community-based lifestyle interventions with high quality diabetes indicators (such as fasting blood glucose) in ethnic SAA communities, 2) expanding beyond traditional modalities of group-based lifestyle interventions and exploring the use of technology and interventions integrated with passive, active, and individualized components, and 3) development of research on diabetes prevention among second generation SAAs.
Sociodemographic differences in the dietary quality of food-at-home acquisitions and purchases among participants in the U.S. nationally representative food acquisition and purchase survey (foodaps)Vadiveloo, M. K., Parker, H. W., Juul, F., & Parekh, N.
Page(s)1-18AbstractInsufficient research has explored whether sociodemographic differences in self-reported, individual-level diet quality are similarly reflected by grocery purchase quality. This cross-sectional analysis of n = 3961 U.S. households from the nationally representative Food Acquisition and Purchase Survey (FoodAPS) compared Healthy Eating Index (HEI)-2015 scores from 1 week of food-at-home acquisitions across self-reported demographic factors (race/ethnicity, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participation, food security, and household-level obesity status). Multivariable-adjusted, survey-weighted regression models compared household HEI-2015 scores across sociodemographic groups. Respondents were primarily White and female, with a mean age of 50.6 years, 14.0% were food insecure, and 12.7% were SNAP-participating. Mean HEI-2015 scores were 54.7; scores differed across all sociodemographic exposures (p < 0.05). Interactions (p < 0.1) were detected between SNAP participation and (1) food insecurity and (2) household-level obesity, and race/ethnicity and (1) household-level obesity. HEI-2015 scores were higher among food secure, non-SNAP households than among food insecure, SNAP-participating households (53.9 ± 0.5 vs. 50.3 ± 0.7, p = 0.007); non-SNAP households without obesity had significantly higher HEI-2015 scores than other households. Household-level obesity was associated with lower HEI-2015 scores in White (50.8 ± 0.5 vs. 52.5 ± 0.7, p = 0.046) and Black (48.8 ± 1.5 vs. 53.1 ± 1.4, p = 0.018) but not Hispanic households (54.4 ± 1.0 vs. 52.2 ± 1.2, p = 0.21). Sociodemographic disparities in household HEI-2015 scores were consistent with previous research on individual-level diet quality.
The Association between Dairy Intake and Body Composition among South Asian Adults from the Mediators of Atherosclerosis in South Asians Living in America (MASALA) StudyMurphy, B., Talegawkar, S. A., O’Connor, J., Kandula, N. R., Kanaya, A. M., Allison, M. A., & Parekh, N.
Journal titleBritish Journal of NutritionAbstractSouth Asians, who are at a disproportionately greater risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD), represent a rapidly growing population in the United States (U.S.). The relationship between dairy, a major component of South Asian diets, and body composition- A n established risk factor for ASCVD, is unclear. The aim of the present study was to examine the associations between dairy intake and multiple measures of body composition (body mass index, waist and hip circumference, waist-to-hip ratio, abdominal lean mass, subcutaneous, visceral, and intermuscular fat areas) among South Asian adults in the U.S. A baseline analysis was conducted using existing data from the Mediators of Atherosclerosis in South Asians Living in America cohort. In women, the highest (>1.9 servings/day) vs. lowest (<1 serving/day) tertile of dairy intake was associated with a 53% lower odds of a waist circumference >80 cm (95%CI:0.25,0.89,ptrend<0.05). No associations were observed between dairy intake and measures of body composition. However, greater than 3 servings of low-fat yogurt per week was associated with a 9.9 cm2 lower visceral fat area (95%CI:-19.07,-0.72,p<0.05) and 2.3 cm2 lower intermuscular fat area (95%CI:-3.76,-0.79,p<0.05) as compared to those with ≤3 servings per week. Milk and cheese (whole/low-fat) were not associated with body composition measures. These analyses suggest that higher consumption of low-fat yogurt is associated with lower visceral and intermuscular fat in the whole sample, and women with higher dairy intake have lower waist circumference. Our study supports dietary incorporation of dairy, and also recognizes the utility of multi-dimensional measures of central adiposity.
The Healthy Eating and Living Against Noncommunicable Diseases Study: An Innovative Family-Based InterventionParekh, N., Khalife, G., Hellmers, N., & D’Eramo Melkus, G.
Journal titleDiabetes Educator
Page(s)569-579AbstractObjective: Inadequate nutrition literacy within families is a barrier for healthy dietary choices and influences chronic disease risk. This pilot study examined the feasibility of providing an in-person nutrition intervention for families at high risk of developing prediabetes or type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular risk-factors. Methods: Eligible families had at least one member with a non-communicable disease (NCD) or metabolic risk factor, fluency in English, willingness to attend all three educational sessions and complete questionnaires as a family unit. Sessions included didactic and experiential activities on food label reading, portion sizing, physical activity and modifiable lifestyle factors to reduce NCD risk. Demographics and fruit and vegetable screeners were collected from all participants at baseline and after completion of sessions. Families participated in focus groups to evaluate the program. Results: Twelve families (n=35;17 adults;18 children) were recruited from New York City. Participants self-identified as Asian, Hispanic or Black. Adults had a mean age of 40y, BMI of 32.29kg/m2, household income of $35,000-$49,000y, and 13 of 17 adult participants had college degrees. Children ranged from 1-17y. Based on focus group feedback, three sessions were acceptable, families reported enjoying interactive activities and group learning and requested child-friendly activities. They reported improved knowledge of food labels, strategies for grocery shopping, portion-sizing, and increased awareness of the links between diet quality and NCDs. Conclusions and Implications: The study met recruitment goals within 4 months. The educational intervention was acceptable and may be scaled-up for future studies on NCD prevention, particularly prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.
The influence of the sugar-sweetened beverage industry on public policies in MexicoOjeda, E., Torres, C., Carriedo, Ángela, Mialon, M., Parekh, N., & Orozco, E.
Journal titleInternational Journal of Public Health
Page(s)1037-1044AbstractObjective: The objective of this study was to map and describe the different corporate political activity (CPA) strategies used by the sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) industry to influence public health policymaking geared toward decreasing the consumption of SSB in Mexico. Methods: We applied an existing approach to identify and monitor the CPA of the SSB industry. A documentary analysis was conducted for two main actors in the SSB industry, for the period 2017–2019, and was triangulated with eleven semi-structured interviews with key informants in public health nutrition and from the SSB industry. The information was analyzed using an existing framework for categorizing the CPA. Results: Although data were found for six CPA strategies, the SSB industry mainly highlighted its economic importance and spoke openly against the 2014 SSB tax. We documented the industry’s relationships with governmental bodies and civil society actors to promote corporate social responsibility and gain public support. Conclusions: The SSB industry in Mexico uses a variety of strategies, directly or through third parties, to influence public policies related to the prevention and control of obesity and non-communicable diseases.
Development of a technology-assisted food frequency questionnaire for elementary and middle school children: Findings from a pilot studyDeierlein, A. L., Bihuniak, J. D., Nagi, E., Litvak, J., Victoria, C., Braune, T., Weiss, R., & Parekh, N.
Issue5AbstractBackground: This pilot study collected preliminary data for the modification of the VioScreen Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ), an adult-validated, self-administered, web-based dietary assessment tool for use in older children. Methods: A convenience sample of 55 children, aged 6–14 years, completed the VioScreen FFQ and 3-day diet record (reference standard). Caregivers completed a short sociodemographic questionnaire. Reported dietary intakes from the VioScreen FFQ and 3-day diet record were calculated using standard nutrient databases, and descriptive statistics were used to examine differences in food/beverage items and portion sizes between the two methods. Informal focus groups obtained user feedback and identified components of the VioScreen FFQ that required modifications. Results: The highest de-attenuated Pearson correlation coefficients between the VioScreen FFQ and 3-day diet record were observed for iron (r = 0.69), saturated fat (r = 0.59), and vegetables (r = 0.56), and the lowest were for whole grains (r = 0.11) and vitamin C (r = 0.16). Qualitative feedback was overall positive, and six technological modifications were identified. Conclusion: Findings from this pilot study provided valuable information on the process of evaluating the use of the VioScreen FFQ among older children, and will inform the future development of a modified version for this population.
Geographic differences in the dietary quality of food purchases among participants in the nationally representative food acquisition and purchase survey (FoodAPS)Vadiveloo, M., Perraud, E., Parker, H. W., Juul, F., & Parekh, N.
Issue6AbstractObjective grocery transactions may reflect diet, but it is unclear whether the diet quality of grocery purchases mirrors geographic and racial/ethnic disparities in diet-related diseases. This cross-sectional analysis of 3961 households in the nationally representative Food Acquisition and Purchase Survey evaluated geographic and racial/ethnic disparities in grocery purchase quality. Respondents self-reported demographics and recorded purchases over 7 days; the Healthy Eating Index (HEI) 2015 assessed diet quality. Survey-weighted multivariable-adjusted regression determined whether there were geographic and racial/ethnic differences in HEI-15 scores. Respondents were, on average, 50.6 years, non-Hispanic white (NHW) (70.3%), female (70.2%), and had attended some college (57.8%). HEI-15 scores differed across geographic region (p < 0.05), with the highest scores in the West (57.0 ± 0.8) and lowest scores in the South (53.1 ± 0.8), and there was effect modification by race/ethnicity (p-interaction = 0.02). Regionally, there were diet disparities among NHW and non-Hispanic black (NHB) households; NHWs in the South had HEI-15 scores 3.2 points lower than NHWs in the West (p = 0.003). Southern NHB households had HEI-15 scores 8.1 points lower than Western NHB households (p = 0.013). Racial/ethnic disparities in total HEI-15 by region existed in the Midwest and South, where Hispanic households in the Midwest and South had significantly lower diet quality than NHW households. Heterogeneous disparities in the diet quality of grocery purchases by region and race/ethnicity necessitate tailored approaches to reduce diet-related disease.
Processing level and diet quality of the US grocery cart: Is there an association?Juul, F., Simões, B. D. S., Litvak, J., Martinez-Steele, E., Deierlein, A., Vadiveloo, M., & Parekh, N.
Journal titlePublic Health Nutrition
Page(s)2357-2366AbstractObjective: The majority of groceries purchased by US households are industrially processed, yet it is unclear how processing level influences diet quality. We sought to determine if processing level is associated with diet quality of grocery purchases. Design: We analysed grocery purchasing data from the National Household Food Acquisition and Purchase Survey 2012-2013. Household grocery purchases were categorized by the NOVA framework as minimally processed, processed culinary ingredients, processed foods or ultra-processed foods. The energy share of each processing level (percentage of energy; %E) and Healthy Eating Index-2015 (HEI-2015) component and total scores were calculated for each household's purchases. The association between %E from processed foods and ultra-processed foods, respectively, and HEI-2015 total score was determined by multivariable linear regression. Foods purchased by households with the highest v. lowest ultra-processed food purchases and HEI-2015 total score <40 v. ≥60 were compared using linear regression. Setting: USA. Participants: Nationally representative sample of 3961 households. Results: Processed foods and ultra-processed foods provided 9·2 (se 0·3) % and 55·8 (se 0·6) % of purchased energy, respectively. Mean HEI-2015 score was 54·7 (se 0·4). Substituting 10 %E from minimally processed foods and processed culinary ingredients for ultra-processed foods decreased total HEI-2015 score by 1·8 points (β = -1·8; 95 % CI -2·0, -1·5). Processed food purchases were not associated with diet quality. Among households with high ultra-processed food purchases, those with HEI-2015 score <40 purchased less minimally processed plant-foods than households with HEI-2015 score ≥60. Conclusions: Increasing purchases of minimally processed foods, decreasing purchases of ultra-processed foods and selecting healthier foods at each processing level may improve diet quality.
Quantity, Quality, and Timing of Carbohydrate Intake and Blood PressureByun, S. S., Mayat, Z. K., Aggarwal, B., Parekh, N., & Makarem, N.
Journal titleCurrent Nutrition Reports
Page(s)270-280AbstractPurpose of Review: This review discusses recent evidence on the association of dietary carbohydrates (quantity, quality, and timing of intake) with hypertension (HTN) risk and out-of-clinic blood pressure (BP) measures. Recent Findings: Studies on carbohydrate quantity are inconclusive, but low carbohydrate diets may be associated with lower BP. Plant-based carbohydrate-containing foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains may lower HTN risk and 24-h BP. Excessive sugar intakes from sugar-sweetened beverages are associated with higher BP levels and HTN risk, with evidence of a dose-response relationship. Preliminary data suggest that timing of carbohydrate intake may influence HTN risk and 24-h BP. Summary: The role of carbohydrate nutrition in HTN’s etiology warrants further investigation. Additional studies are needed to investigate the influence of dietary carbohydrates on HTN risk and the circadian pattern of BP, evaluate potential sex and racial/ethnic differences in these associations, and elucidate underlying mechanisms.
Weight perception, weight control intentions, and dietary intakes among adolescents ages 10–15 years in the United StatesDeierlein, A. L., Malkan, A., Litvak, J., & Parekh, N.
Journal titleInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue6AbstractBackground: To examine associations of adolescents’ weight status perception and weight control intentions with dietary intakes. Methods: Cross-sectional data from adolescents aged 10–15 in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, 2005–2014 (n = 4940). Adolescents responded to questions regarding weight perception and if they were trying to change their weight. Intakes of calories, protein, carbohydrate, fat, saturated fat, sugar, and fiber were assessed using 24-h dietary recalls. Multivariable linear regression estimated associations of intakes with weight perception and weight control intentions. Results: The majority of adolescents perceived their weight as “about right”; however, 45% and 46% of boys and girls, respectively, reported trying to change their weight. Weight perception was not associated with intakes, with the exception of lower sugar (−13.65 g, 95% CI: −23.06, −4.23) and higher percent calories from protein (1.01%, 95% CI: 0.16, 1.87) in boys with overweight/obesity who perceived themselves as overweight, as well as lower percent calories from saturated fat (−1.04%, 95% CI: −2.24, −0.17) among girls with normal weight who perceived themselves as overweight. Weight control intentions were associated with intakes in boys only. Compared to boys who never tried to lose weight, boys who tried to lose weight consumed fewer calories (−188.34 kcal, 95% CI: −357.67, −19.01), a lower percent of calories from fat (−1.41%, 95% CI: −2.80, −0.02), and a greater percent of calories from protein (1.48%, 95% CI: 0.41, 2.55). Conclusions: Despite perceiving weight as “about right”, many adolescents reported trying to change their weight, which was associated with some dietary intakes. Efforts may be necessary to educate adolescents on healthy nutrition and weight management behaviors.
Associations of Parental Self-Efficacy With Diet, Physical Activity, Body Composition, and Cardiorespiratory Fitness in Swedish Preschoolers: Results From the MINISTOP TrialParekh, N., Henriksson, P., Delisle Nyström, C., Silfvernagel, K., Ruiz, J. R., Ortega, F. B., Pomeroy, J., & Löf, M.
Journal titleHealth Education and Behavior
Page(s)238-246AbstractBackground. High parental self-efficacy (PSE) has been associated with healthy diets and higher levels of physical activity (PA) in children; however, data on PSE in relation to body weight and body composition are scarce. The objective of this study was to investigate associations of PSE with measures of diet, PA, body composition, and physical fitness in early childhood. Method. We used baseline data from the MINISTOP trial in healthy Swedish children (n = 301; 4.5 ± 0.15 years). PSE was assessed using a questionnaire, dietary data were collected using a mobile technology–assisted methodology, and PA was obtained (sedentary behavior and moderate-to-vigorous) by accelerometry. Body composition was measured using the pediatric option for BodPod and cardiorespiratory fitness by the 20 m shuttle run. Linear regression was conducted to evaluate cross-sectional associations of the outcomes in relation to total PSE and scores computed for the individual PSE factors: (1) diet, (2) limit setting of unhealthful behaviors, and (3) PA. Results. Higher scores of total PSE and the diet factor were associated with higher fruit intake (β = 0.82 g/point and 1.99 g/point; p =.014 and.009, respectively) and lower consumption of unhealthy snacks (β = −0.42 g/point and −0.89 g/point; p =.012 and.020, respectively) after adjustment for parental body mass index and education, respondent, and child’s sex and age. No associations were observed between PSE and PA, body composition, or cardiorespiratory fitness. Conclusions. Our study noted that PSE should be considered in conjunction with other strategies for a sustainable impact on childhood obesity.
Associations of Whole and Refined Grain Intakes with Adiposity-Related Cancer Risk in the Framingham Offspring Cohort (1991–2013)Makarem, N., Bandera, E. V., Lin, Y., McKeown, N. M., Hayes, R. B., & Parekh, N.
Journal titleNutrition and Cancer
Page(s)776-786AbstractCase-control studies suggest that higher whole grain and lower refined grain intakes are associated with reduced cancer risk, but longitudinal evidence is limited. The objective of this prospective cohort study is to evaluate associations between whole and refined grains and their food sources in relation to adiposity-related cancer risk. Participants were adults from the Framingham Offspring cohort (N = 3,184; ≥18 yr). Diet, measured using a food frequency questionnaire, medical and lifestyle data were collected at exam 5 (1991–95). Between 1991 and 2013, 565 adiposity-related cancers were ascertained using pathology reports. Cox proportional hazards models were used to estimate adjusted hazard ratios and 95% confidence intervals for associations of whole and refined grains with risk of adiposity-related cancers combined and with risk of breast and prostate cancers in exploratory site-specific analyses. Null associations between whole and refined grains and combined incidence of adiposity-related cancers were observed in multivariable-adjusted models (HR: 0.94; 95% CI: 0.71–1.23 and HR: 0.98; 95% CI: 0.70–1.38, respectively). In exploratory analyses, higher intakes of whole grains (oz eq/day) and whole grain food sources (servings/day) were associated with 39% and 47% lower breast cancer risk (HR: 0.61; 95% CI: 0.38–0.98 and HR: 0.53; 95% CI: 0.33–0.86, respectively). In conclusion, whole and refined grains were not associated with adiposity-related cancer risk. Whole grains may protect against breast cancer, but findings require confirmation within a larger sample and in other ethnic groups.
Consumption of sugars, sugary foods, and sugary beverages in relation to adiposity-related cancer risk in the framingham offspring cohort (1991–2013)Makarem, N., Bandera, E. V., Lin, Y., Jacques, P. F., Hayes, R. B., & Parekh, N.
Journal titleCancer Prevention Research
Page(s)347-358AbstractBackground: Higher sugar consumption may increase cancer risk by promoting insulin-glucose dysregulation, oxidative stress, hormonal imbalances, and excess adiposity. This prospective study investigates the association between dietary sugars (fructose and sucrose) and sugary foods and beverages in relation to combined and site-specific (breast, prostate, colorectal) adiposity-associated cancers. Methods: The analytic sample consisted of 3,184 adults, aged 26–84 years, from the Framingham Offspring cohort. Diet data were first collected between 1991 and 1995 using a food frequency questionnaire. Intakes of fructose, sucrose, sugary foods, and sugary beverages (fruit juice and sugar-sweetened beverages) were derived. Participants were followed up until 2013 to ascertain cancer incidence; 565 doctor-diagnosed adiposity-related cancers, including 124 breast, 157 prostate, and 68 colorectal cancers occurred. Multivariable-adjusted Cox proportional hazards models were used to evaluate associations. Tests for interaction with BMI and waist circumference were conducted. Results: No associations were observed between fructose, sucrose, sugary food consumption, and combined incidence of adiposity-related cancers or the examined site-specific cancers. While total consumption of sugary beverages was not associated with site-specific cancer risk, higher intakes of fruit juice were associated with 58% increased prostate cancer risk (HR: 1.58; 95% CI, 1.04–2.41) in multivariable-adjusted models. In exploratory stratified analyses, higher sugary beverage intakes increased overall adiposity-related cancer risk by 59% in participants with excessive central adiposity (HR: 1.59; 95% CI, 1.01–2.50; P trend ¼ 0.057). Conclusions: In this cohort of American adults, higher sugary beverage consumption was associated with increased cancer risk among participants with central adiposity. Impact: These analyses suggest that avoiding sugary beverages represents a simple dietary modification that may be used as an effective cancer control strategy.
Consumption of sugars, sugary foods, and sugary beverages in relation to cancer risk: A systematic review of longitudinal studiesMakarem, N., Bandera, E. V., Nicholson, J. M., & Parekh, N.
Journal titleAnnual Review of Nutrition
Page(s)17-39AbstractHigh sugar intake may increase cancer risk by promoting insulin-glucose dysregulation, oxidative stress, inflammation, and body adiposity, but epidemiologic evidence is unclear. Associations between dietary sugars and lifestyle-related cancer risk from longitudinal studies were evaluated. We systematically searched PubMed, Embase, and CINAHL and identified 37 prospective cohort studies (1990-2017) reporting multivariable adjusted risk estimates for dietary sugars in relation to cancer. Of 15 and 14 studies on total sugar and sucrose respectively, 11 reported a null association in relation to cancer. Of 14 studies on fructose, 8 reported null associations, and 2 reported protective and 4 reported detrimental associations. In two of five studies on added sugars, a 60-95% increased cancer risk was observed with higher intakes. In 8 of 15 studies on sugary foods and beverages, a 23-200% higher cancer risk was observed with higher sugary beverage consumption. In conclusion, most studies were indicative of a null association, but suggestive detrimental associations were reported for added sugars and sugary beverages.
Nutrition Literacy among Cancer Survivors: Feasibility Results from the Healthy Eating and Living Against Breast Cancer (HEAL-BCa) Study: a Pilot Randomized Controlled TrialParekh, N., Jiang, J., Buchan, M., Meyers, M., Gibbs, H., & Krebs, P.
Journal titleJournal of Cancer Education
Page(s)1239-1249AbstractKnowledge of nutrition among breast cancer patients is insufficient, despite their motivation to seek valid information about healthy food choices. This study examines the feasibility of nutrition education workshops for cancer survivors, to inform the design of a multi-center intervention. Fifty-nine female English-speaking breast cancer patients, who had completed treatment, were enrolled. Participants were randomized to the intervention or control group. The intervention group attended six nutrition education sessions, and the control group received brochures. Measurements were done at baseline and 3-month follow-up and included the Assessment Instrument for Breast Cancer (NLit-BCa), fruit/vegetable and general health literacy screeners. Height and weight were measured. Changes in nutrition literacy, health literacy, and food intake from baseline to follow-up (within-group change) were calculated for both groups (effect sizes were reported as Cohen’s d). Participants were mostly white, with a mean age of 58 years, BMI of 31.6 kg/m2, and had college degrees. Follow-up rates were high (89% = control and 77% = intervention group). At baseline, participants scored high for most NLit-BCa assessment components except food portions in both groups. At the 3-month follow-up, effect sizes (d) on the NLit-BCa ranged from −0.5 to 0.16. The study met its recruitment goals within 6 months. Focus groups indicated that (a) attending six sessions was acceptable, (b) patients found social/emotional support, (c) improvements should include information for special diets and booster sessions. This pilot study suggests that the intervention was acceptable and that scaling up of this intervention is feasible and could provide benefit to breast cancer survivors.
Racial and ethnic disparities in predictors of glycemia: a moderated mediation analysis of inflammation-related predictors of diabetes in the NHANES 2007–2010Nowlin, S., Cleland, C. M., Parekh, N., Hagan, H., & Melkus, G.
Journal titleNutrition and Diabetes
Issue1AbstractBackground/Objective: Racial/ethnic disparities in type 2 diabetes (T2D) outcomes exist, and could be explained by nutrition- and inflammation-related differences. The objective of this study is to identify associations between race/ethnicity and glucose control among participants from NHANES 2007–2010, as influenced by diet quality, body mass, and inflammation and grouped by T2D status. Subjects/Methods: The following is a cross-sectional, secondary data analysis of two NHANES data cycles spanning 2007–2010. The association between race/ethnicity and hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) as mediated by dietary intake score, body mass index (BMI), and C-reactive protein (CRP) was assessed, as was the strength of the difference of that association, or moderation, by T2D status. The sample included n = 7850 non-pregnant adult participants ≥ 20 years of age who had two days of reliable dietary recall data, and no missing data on key variables included in the analysis. The primary outcome examined was HbA1c. Results: The model accurately explained the variation in HbA1c measures in participants without T2D, as mediated by diet quality, BMI, and CRP. However, significant variation in HbA1c remained after accounting for aforementioned mediators when contrasting non-Hispanic White to non-Hispanic Black participants without T2D. The model was not a good fit for explaining racial/ethnic disparities in HbA1c in participants with T2D. A test of the index of moderated mediation for this model was not significant for the differences in the effect of race/ethnicity on HbA1c by T2D status (moderator). Conclusions: This study demonstrated that diet quality, BMI, and CRP mediated the effect of race/ethnicity on HbA1c in persons without T2D, but not in persons with T2D. Further research should include additional inflammatory markers, and other inflammation- and T2D-related health outcomes, and their association with racial/ethnic disparities in diabetes.
Ultra-processed food consumption and excess weight among US adultsJuul, F., Martinez-Steele, E., Parekh, N., Monteiro, C. A., & Chang, V. W.
Journal titleThe British journal of nutrition
Page(s)90-100AbstractUltra-processed foods provide 58 % of energy intake and 89 % of added sugars in the American diet. Nevertheless, the association between ultra-processed foods and excess weight has not been investigated in a US sample. The present investigation therefore aims to examine the association between ultra-processed foods and excess weight in a nationally representative sample of US adults. We performed a cross-sectional analysis of anthropometric and dietary data from 15 977 adults (20-64 years) participating in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2005-2014. Dietary data were collected by 24-h recall. Height, weight and waist circumference (WC) were measured. Foods were classified as ultra-processed/non-ultra-processed according to the NOVA classification. Multivariable linear and logistic regression was used to evaluate the association between ultra-processed food consumption (% energy) and BMI, WC and odds of BMI≥25 kg/m2, BMI≥30 kg/m2 and abdominal obesity (men: WC≥102 cm, women: WC≥88 cm). Prevalence of BMI≥25 kg/m2, BMI≥30 kg/m2 and abdominal obesity was 69·2, 36·1 and 53·0 %, respectively. Consuming ≥74·2 v. ≤36·5 % of total energy from ultra-processed foods was associated with 1·61 units higher BMI (95 % CI 1·11, 2·10), 4·07 cm greater WC (95 % CI 2·94, 5·19) and 48, 53 and 62 % higher odds of BMI≥25 kg/m2, BMI≥30 kg/m2 and abdominal obesity, respectively (OR 1·48; 95 % CI 1·25, 1·76; OR 1·53; 95 % CI 1·29, 1·81; OR 1·62; 95 % CI 1·39, 1·89, respectively; P for trend<0·001 for all). A significant interaction between being female and ultra-processed food consumption was found for BMI (F 4,79=4·89, P=0·002), WC (F 4,79=3·71, P=0·008) and BMI≥25 kg/m2 (F 4,79=5·35, P<0·001). As the first study in a US population, our findings support that higher consumption of ultra-processed food is associated with excess weight, and that the association is more pronounced among women.
Birth weight, early life weight gain and age at menarche: a systematic review of longitudinal studiesJuul, F., Chang, V. W., Brar, P., & Parekh, N.
Journal titleObesity Reviews
Page(s)1272-1288AbstractBackground and objective: Adiposity in pre- and postnatal life may influence menarcheal age. Existing evidence is primarily cross-sectional, failing to address temporality, for which the role of adiposity in early life remains unclear. The current study sought to systematically review longitudinal studies evaluating the associations between birth weight and infant/childhood weight status/weight gain in relation to menarcheal age. Methods: PubMed, EMBASE, Web of Science, Global Health (Ovid) and CINAHL were systematically searched. Selected studies were limited to English-language articles presenting multi-variable analyses. Seventeen studies reporting risk estimates for birth weight (n = 3), infant/childhood weight gain/weight status (n = 4) or both (n = 10), in relation to menarcheal age were included. Results: Lower vs. higher birth weight was associated with earlier menarche in nine studies and later menarche in one study, while three studies reported a null association. Greater BMI or weight gain over time and greater childhood weight were significantly associated with earlier menarche in nine of nine and six of seven studies, respectively. Conclusions: Studies suggested that lower birth weight and higher body weight and weight gain in infancy and childhood may increase the risk of early menarche. The pre- and postnatal period may thus be an opportune time for weight control interventions to prevent early menarche, and its subsequent consequences.
Carbohydrate nutrition and risk of adiposity-related cancers: Results from the Framingham Offspring cohort (1991-2013)Makarem, N., Bandera, E. V., Lin, Y., Jacques, P. F., Hayes, R. B., & Parekh, N.
Journal titleBritish Journal of Nutrition
Page(s)1603-1614AbstractHigher carbohydrate intake, glycaemic index (GI), and glycaemic load (GL) are hypothesised to increase cancer risk through metabolic dysregulation of the glucose-insulin axis and adiposity-related mechanisms, but epidemiological evidence is inconsistent. This prospective cohort study investigates carbohydrate quantity and quality in relation to risk of adiposity-related cancers, which represent the most commonly diagnosed preventable cancers in the USA. In exploratory analyses, associations with three site-specific cancers: breast, prostate and colorectal cancers were also examined. The study sample consisted of 3184 adults from the Framingham Offspring cohort. Dietary data were collected in 1991-1995 using a FFQ along with lifestyle and medical information. From 1991 to 2013, 565 incident adiposity-related cancers, including 124 breast, 157 prostate and sixty-eight colorectal cancers, were identified. Cox proportional hazards models were used to evaluate the role of carbohydrate nutrition in cancer risk. GI and GL were not associated with risk of adiposity-related cancers or any of the site-specific cancers. Total carbohydrate intake was not associated with risk of adiposity-related cancers combined or prostate and colorectal cancers. However, carbohydrate consumption in the highest v. lowest quintile was associated with 41 % lower breast cancer risk (hazard ratio (HR) 0·59; 95 % CI 0·36, 0·97). High-, medium- and low-GI foods were not associated with risk of adiposity-related cancers or prostate and colorectal cancers. In exploratory analyses, low-GI foods, were associated with 49 % lower breast cancer risk (HR 0·51; 95 % CI 0·32, 0·83). In this cohort of Caucasian American adults, associations between carbohydrate nutrition and cancer varied by cancer site. Healthier low-GI carbohydrate foods may prevent adiposity-related cancers among women, but these findings require confirmation in a larger sample.
Consumption of whole grains and cereal fiber in relation to cancer risk: A systematic review of longitudinal studiesMakarem, N., Nicholson, J. M., Bandera, E. V., McKeown, N. M., & Parekh, N.
Journal titleNutrition Reviews
Page(s)353-373AbstractContext: Evidence from previous reviews is supportive of the hypothesis that whole grains may protect against various cancers. However, the reviews did not report risk estimates for both whole grains and cereal fiber and only case-control studies were evaluated. It is unclear whether longitudinal studies support this conclusion. Objective: To evaluate associations between whole grains and cereal fiber in relation to risk of lifestyle-related cancers data from longitudinal studies was evaluated. Data Sources: The following 3 databases were systematically searched: PubMed, EMBASE, and Cochrane CENTRAL. Study Selection: A total of 43 longitudinal studies conducted in Europe and North America that reported multivariable-adjusted risk estimates for whole grains (n=14), cereal fiber (n=23), or both (n=6) in relation to lifestyle-related cancers were included. Data Extraction: Information on study location, cohort name, follow-up duration, sample characteristics, dietary assessment method, risk estimates, and confounders was extracted. Data Synthesis: Of 20 studies examining whole grains and cancer, 6 studies reported a statistically significant 6%-47% reduction in risk, but 14 studies showed no association. Of 29 studies examining cereal fiber intake in relation to cancer, 8 showed a statistically significant 6%-49% reduction in risk, whereas 21 studies reported no association. Conclusions: This systematic review concludes that most studies were suggestive of a null association. Whole grains and cereal fiber may protect against gastrointestinal cancers, but these findings require confirmation in additional studies.