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Uncovering the Various Dimensions of Nutritional Disparities: Innovative Approaches and Public Health Implications
September 15, 2017 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Dr. Jennifer Poti, UNC-CH Research Assistant Professor, Nutrition
Dr. Poti is a nutritional epidemiologist interested in understanding the complexities of the US food supply, purchasing patterns, and dietary intake. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology from Johns Hopkins University and earned a PhD in Nutrition with a minor in Epidemiology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has been at the Carolina Population Center as a member of the Global Food Research Program at UNC since 2010.
Dr. Poti’s research focuses on how shifts in the American diet away from whole foods and home cooking toward highly processed foods and foods prepared away-from-home (e.g. fast food and restaurant foods) are related to dietary quality and obesity among US children and adults. In addition, her work has focused on monitoring the US food supply and documenting long-term dietary trends among Americans. She is currently studying sources of sodium, saturated fat, and sugar in household food and beverage purchases and evaluating changes in the nutrient content of purchases that may occur as a result of manufacturers’ efforts to reformulate packaged foods and introduce new products. She also currently helps to lead her team’s Crosswalk project, which links nutrition label data to national dietary intake surveys in order to examine nutritional changes in the US food supply and assess potential impact on dietary intake of Americans. Dr. Poti’s work is particularly focused on understanding long-term food purchasing behaviors and diets within critical subpopulations (particularly non-Hispanic black, Hispanic, and low-income children and adults) who are at higher risk for obesity and obesity-related cardiometabolic disease. Her research evaluates the differential effects that recent changes in the US food supply have on diet disparities in the US.
Dr. Poti’s research has included successful interdisciplinary collaboration with experts in nutrition, epidemiology, and economics. She has formal training in epidemiology and analytic methods including regression modeling, analysis of categorical data and time-to-event analysis, advanced methods specifically in nutritional epidemiology and obesity epidemiology, and econometric modeling methods including longitudinal analysis of panel data and instrumental variable techniques. Dr. Poti’s research experience has provided her with a strong skill set for assessing and representing dietary data, including analysis at the nutrient, food, or food group level; creation of food grouping systems; and dietary pattern analysis using a priori indices or data-driven approaches. She has extensive experience working with large, population-based nationally representative sources of dietary data, including the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) dietary intake data and the Homescan commercial food purchase data. Dr. Poti’s published research produced results with important policy implications, including studies that helped to inform development of the USDA’s nutrition standards for the National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs as well as work that has been used to develop food procurement standards for the county of San Diego, CA.