Barbara Laraia PhD, MPH, RD

Professor, Community Health Sciences
  • PH 206: Critical Issues in Public Health Nutrition
  • PH 206B: Food and Nutrition Policies and Programs
  • PH 206C: Nutritional Epidemiology
  • PH 207A: Public Health Aspects of Maternal and Child Nutrition
  • PH 292.003: Integrated Learning Experience
Research Interests: 
  • Household food insecurity
  • Food and social environment
  • Health disparities
  • Perinatal Epi
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Dietary assessment methods
Research Description: 

My research program focuses on the influence of contextual level effects on dietary intake, cardiometabolic risk factors and pregnancy outcomes, especially among vulnerable populations. Contextual level effects refer to the household food environment, namely household food insecurity, as well as the neighborhood or built environment measured as one's food, physical activity and social environment. The populations that I have focused on most in my research are pregnant women, children, and adults with diabetes. My research program include survey research, direct observation of neighborhood attributes, data collection using anthropometric, questionnaire, and a number of dietary intake approaches.

Current Projects: 

My research program has a number of projects. Some projects are:

  • Race, stress and dysregulated eating: Maternal to child transmission of obesity;
    which is a follow-up study to the longitudinal National Growth and Health Study (NGHS) that aims to understand the influence of life stress and eating behaviors on obesity of women and their children.
  • Novel Interventions to Reduce Stress-Related Non-homeostatic Eating;
    that is implementing mindfulness-based, stress reduction and healthy eating and movement interventions for middle and low-income overweight/obese pregnant women.
  • MCH Nutrition Training Grant
Selected Publications: 

*Zhang YT, Mujahid MS, Laraia BA, Kelly NM, Blanchard S, Warton M, Adler N, Schillinger D, Moffett H, Karter A. Neighborhood supermarket presence is longitudinally associated with hemoglobin A1c among patients with type 2 diabetes. American Journal of Epidemiology (in press).

Leung C, Tester J, Laraia B. Household food insecurity and ideal cardiovascular health factors in U.S. adults. JAMA Internal Medicine 2017 May 1;177(5):730-732.

Laraia BA*, Downing J*, Dow W, Kelly M, Blanchard S, Warton M, Mofett H, Adler N, Schillinger D, Karter A. The neighborhood food environment and adult weight change: estimates from a longitudinal cohort of diabetics in Northern California. American Journal of Epidemiology 2017 Apr 6:1-8.

Laraia BA, Leak T, Tester J, Leung C. Biobehavioral Nutritional Issues of Low-Income Individuals and Families: A Narrative Review. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 2017 Feb;52(2S2):S118-S126.

Prather AA, Leung C, Adler NE, Ritchie L, Laraia B, Epel ES. Short and sweet: associations between self-reported sleep duration and sugar-sweetened beverage consumption in the United States. Sleep Health 2016 Dec;2(4):272-276.

*Gamba R, Leung CW, Guendelman S, Lahiff M, Laraia BA. Food Insecurity and Diet Quality during Pregnancy. Maternal and Child Health Journal 2016 Nov;20(11):2348-2356.

*Strings AB, Kevasod Y, Laraia BA, Nuru-Jeter A. Racial and gender differences in the association between food insecurity and Type 2 Diabetes. Ethnicity and Disease 2016;26(3):427-34.

* Leung CW, Laraia BA, Coleman-Phox K, Bush NR, Lin J, Blackburn EH, Adler NE, Epel ES. Sugary beverage and food consumption, and leukocyte telomere length maintenance in pregnant women. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2016 Jun 15.

*Zhang YT, Laraia BA, Mujahid MS, Warton EM, Moffet HH, Karter AJ. Is a reduction in distance to nearest supermarket associated with BMI change among type 2 diabetes patients? Health & Place 2016 May 6;40:15-20.

Mook K, Laraia BA, Oddo VM, Jones-Smith JC. Food security status and barriers to fruit and vegetable consumption in two economically deprived communities of Oakland, California, 2013–2014. Preventing Chronic Diseases 2016;13:150402. DOI:

*Tester J, Laraia BA, Leung C, Mietus-Snyder M. Dyslipidemia and food insecurity in low-income US adolescents: NHANES 2003-2010. Preventive Chronic Diseases 2016 Feb 11;13:E22.

*Puterman E, Prather A, Epel ES, Loharuka S, Adler NE, Laraia BA, Tomiyama AJ. Exercise mitigates cumulative associations between stress and BMI in girls age 10-19. Health Psychology. 2016;35(2):191-194.

*Tester J, Lang T, Laraia BA. Disordered eating behaviors among obese children living in food insecurity: A qualitative study. Obesity Research & Clinical Practice. 2015 Dec 12.

*Mason AE, Laraia B, Daubenmier J, Hecht FM, Lustig RH, Puterman E, Adler N, Dallman M, Kiernan M, Gearhardt AN, Epel ES. Putting the brakes on the "drive to eat": Pilot effects of naltrexone and reward-based eating on food cravings among obese women. Eating Behavior. 2015 Dec;19:53-56.

Other interests: 
  • Institute of Medicine Committee on Examination of the Adequacy of Food Resources and SNAP Allotments
  • Member, American Public Health Association
  • Society for Epidemiologic Research
  • Population Association of America
Profile Updated: October 8, 2018