Tag Archives: HNFE

HNFE roundup

– Brenda Davy was interviewed by Sports Illustrated for the article, “Get Healthy in 2016: Dr. Brenda Davy on how to eat better and lose weight,” the first of a five-part series on how to improve lives by eating, working, and living better.

– Ph.D. student Edoardo Tessaro won the “Survivor Series” pre-qualifying tournament at the Delray Beach Stadium & Tennis Center. A graduate student and member of the Virginia Tech tennis team, Tessaro beat top-seeded five-star junior Alexandre Rotsaert 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (10-7) to win a wild card and a chance to play in his first ATP-level tournament.

– Alumni Carol Kahoun (B.S. ’15) was awarded one of three 2016 Weaver-James-Corrigan Awards, an ACC postgraduate scholarship.

– Ph.D. student Sallie Beth Johnson is a co-author to Psychology professor Scott Geller’s book “Applied Psychology: Actively Caring for People.” She contributed a chapter on obesity. “We provided an overview of the obesity epidemic, its complex causes and consequences, and called for an AC4P approach to promoting healthy lifestyles,” said Johnson, who previously took Geller’s graduate course in large-scale applications of behavioral science.

– Ph.D. student Karen Strat was chosen to participate in the second annual Emerging Leaders in Nutrition Science Poster Competition, an event that recognizes the highest scoring research presented by students and young investigators at ASN’s Scientific Sessions and Annual Meeting at Experimental Biology 2016. Her abstract is “Cocoa Increases Postprandial GLP-1 Response in Adults with Impaired Glucose Tolerance.”

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Welcome new faculty!

Our college recently hired eight new faculty members, with the intent on bringing new talent to its focus areas, including food and health, infectious disease, biodesign and processing, and agricultural profitability and environmental sustainability. These new hires are distributed across teaching, research, and Extension.

Please welcome our new faculty members:

  • Carlin Rafie appointed assistant professor of human nutrition, foods, and exercise and Extension specialist
  • Charlie Cahoon appointed assistant professor of plant pathology, physiology, and weed science and Extension specialist
  • Cristina Fernandez-Fraguas appointed assistant professor of food science and technology
  • Hannah Scherer appointed Extension specialist and assistant professor of agricultural, leadership, and community education
  • Laura Strawn named Extension specialist and assistant professor of food science and technology
  • Maria Sharakhova joins entomology faculty
  • Olga Isengildina-Massa named associate professor of agricultural and applied economics
  • Travis Mountain named Extension specialist, assistant professor of agricultural and applied economics
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Check out HNFE’s summer alumni magazine

HNFE magazineThe Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise’s alumni magazine is available online. Make sure to check out all the great features highlighting research, Extension outreach, students, and more!

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Fralin Fellow Keely O’Keefe examines diets of women and children in Madagascar

HNFE junior and Fralin Fellow Keely O’Keefe examined diets of women and children in Madagascar this summer. Keely surveyed 138 mothers in 10 Malagasy villages with support from a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship from the Fralin Life Science Institute. Working with faculty member Alisha Farris, she interviewed mothers in Madagascar about diet diversity, which foods they view as healthy or unhealthy, food security, and access to markets, crops, and livestock.

Keely and Alisha found that the average diet diversity score was about 6.5 out of 12, with a good diet diversity score being 9 or higher. They also found that many women and children had limited diets, a large portion of rice with a small green leafy vegetable on the side for every meal, because of the high cost of items such as poultry or fish and their distance from a market.

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HNFE senior Erica Hess highlighted for work with Spotsylvania Farmers Market

Human nutrition, foods, and exercise senior Erica Hess was highlighted in the Freelance Star for her excellent work with the Spotsylvania Farmers Market this summer. Erica helped to host Virginia Department of Agriculture Commissioner Sandy Adams at the market, serving the Commissioner a sample of tomato peach salad as a part of her internship with the Family Nutrition Program’s Food Access and Availability Project. FAAP hired six HNFE students this summer, placing them to work in 15 markets across the state. The interns held recipe tasting and nutrition lessons in their host markets each week for the entire summer. The Family Nutrition Program also hires HNFE students to do nutrition education at summer food feeding sites across the state as well. This popular internship gives students hands on experience with community nutrition in a variety of settings.

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HNFE researchers develop the Healthy Beverage Index

Brenda M. Davy, a professor of human nutrition, foods, and exercise, and Kiyah J. Duffey, director of Global Scientific Affairs at LA Sutherland group and an adjunct faculty member of human nutrition, foods, and exercise, have developed the Healthy Beverage Index – a scoring system to evaluate the healthiness of what and how much people drink each day. They found that a higher index score correlates to better cholesterol levels, lowered risk of hypertension, and in men, lowered blood pressure.

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The weird way our bodies react to fatty foods

Study: Five days of eating fatty foods can alter body – Virginia Tech from VirginiaTech on Vimeo.

Matt Hulver, associate professor in the Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise, recently published a study that shows how eating five days of fatty foods can ultimately alter your long-term health. Here’s a roundup of media coverage on his research:

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Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise’s Alisha Farris’ research highlighted on Good Morning America

Research of graduate student Alisha Farris in the Department of Human Nutrition, Foods and Exercise was recently featured in the national media!

She was interviewed by Good Morning America for the segment: School lunches offer better average nutrition than packed lunches.

“Ours is the first study comparing packed lunches to National School Lunch Program meals over a five-day period among pre-K and kindergarten students following the implementation of new nutrition standards,” said Farris, the lead author of the study. “We found that both packed and school lunches almost entirely met nutrition standards, except school lunches were below energy and iron recommendations, whereas packed lunches exceeded fat and saturated fat recommendations.”

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Dan River Partnership for Healthy Community receives planning grant from NIH

The Dan River Partnership for Healthy Community (DRPHC) received an R24 planning grant from the National Institutes of Health to conduct the Dan River Region POPS: Partnering for Obesity Planning and Sustainability (POPS) study using a community-based participatory research approach.

The POPS initiative has two main objectives:

  • Intervention testing of a childhood obesity treatment program aimed at reducing BMI z-scores. As guided by the RE-AIM framework, the intervention testing objectives are to determine the potential reach (i.e., proportion of target population and representativeness), effectiveness (i.e., changes in child BMI z-scores over a six-month period), feasibility (i.e., the degree to which the intervention can be adopted, implemented, and sustained as intended) and cost (i.e., resource and staffing costs) of the program.
  • To develop and assess community capacity related to the development, implementation, and sustainability of the childhood obesity treatment program.

Dan River Partnership for Healthy Community

To date, the study has successfully developed an academic and community partnership that includes representatives from Danville Parks and Recreation, Danville/Pittsylvania Health District, Children’s Healthcare Center, and Danville Boys & Girls Club.

The Virginia Tech investigators include Paul Estabrooks, Jamie Zoellner, Jennie Hill, Madlyn Frisard, Wen You, and their graduate students. Using evidence based practices from the Bright Bodies childhood obesity intervention program, the partners have created the iChoose program that is specifically tailored to the needs of the Dan River Region. Continue reading

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Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise senior Christian Beyer candidate for Rhodes Scholarship

Christian BeyerDepartment of Human Nutrition, Foods and Exercise senior Christian Beyer is one of three candidates Virginia Tech has recommended for the Rhodes Scholarship!

This prestigious national scholarship provides coverage for graduate study in the United Kingdom. Rhodes Scholarships provide support for tuition, fees, room, board, transportation, and books to 32 seniors for two years of graduate study at Oxford University.

Beyer is a student-athlete who achieved academic success while participating as a scholarship basketball player for the university. He plans to pursue medical school after graduation.

Through a service learning study abroad course for student-athletes, Beyer traveled to the Philippines to teach adolescents about sex education. It sparked a passion for youth assistance programs. Beyer hopes to combine his medical interest in orthopedics to one day organize inner city clinics for under-privileged youth suffering from sports injuries.

Congratulations and good luck, Christian!

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