Barbara Laraia PhD, MPH, RD

Professor, Community Health Sciences
  • PH 206: Critical Issues in Public Health Nutrition
  • PH 206A: Nutritional Assessment, Physical Activity, and Chronic Disease
  • PH 206B: Food and Nutrition Policies and Programs
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:

  • Neighborhood Effects on Weight Change and Diabetes Risk Factors;
    that seeks to identify modifiable contextual-level risk factors that influence dietary intake and cardiometabolic outcomes.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • MCH Nutrition Training Grant
  • Maternal Infant Health Assessment
Selected Publications: 

Laraia BA. Food insecurity and chronic disease. Adv Nutr. 2013;4(2):203-12.

Laraia B, Epel E, Siega-Riz AM. Food insecurity with past experience of restrained eating is a recipe for increased gestational weight gain. Appetite. 2013 Jun;65:178-84.

Stoddard PJ, Laraia BA, Warton EM, Moffet HH, Adler NE, Schillinger D, Karter AJ. Neighborhood deprivation and change in BMI among adults with type 2 diabetes: the Diabetes Study of Northern California (DISTANCE). Diabetes Care. 2013;36(5):1200-8.

Jones-Smith JC, Karter AJ, Warton EM, Kelly M, Kersten E, Moffet HH, Adler N, Schillinger D, Laraia BA. Obesity and the food environment: income and ethnicity differences among people with diabetes: the Diabetes Study of Northern California (DISTANCE). Diabetes Care. 2013;36(9):2697-705.

Ayala GX, Baquero B, Laraia BA, Ji M, Linnan L. Efficacy of a store-based environmental change intervention compared with a delayed treatment control condition on store customers' intake of fruits and vegetables. Public Health Nutr. 2013;16(11):1953-60.

Tomiyama AJ, Puterman E, Epel ES, Rehkopf DH, Laraia BA. Chronic psychological stress and racial disparities in body mass index change between Black and White girls aged 10-19. Ann Behav Med. 2013;45(1):3-12.

Jones-Smith JC, Neufeld LM, Laraia B, Ramakrishnan U, Garcia-Guerra A, Fernald LC. Early life growth trajectories and future risk for overweight. Nutr Diabetes. 2013;3:e60.

Laraia BA. Carrots, sticks, or carrot sticks?: using federal food policy to engineer dietary change. Am J Prev Med. 2012 Oct;43(4):456-7. No abstract available.

Laraia BA, Karter AJ, Warton EM, Schillinger D, Moffet HH, Adler N. Place matters: neighborhood deprivation and cardiometabolic risk factors in the Diabetes Study of Northern California (DISTANCE). Soc Sci Med. 2012 Apr;74(7):1082-90.

Kersten E, Laraia B, Kelly M, Adler N, Yen IH. Small food stores and availability of nutritious foods: a comparison of database and in-store measures, Northern California, 2009. Prev Chronic Dis. 2012;9:E127.

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: August 29, 2016