Chris is a trainee at the University of California, Berkeley. He is currently pursuing his doctorate in public health, with an emphasis in public health nutrition, and is graduating in May 2018. This blog highlights his current research on childhood obesity prevention among black and white preadolescent girls.
Continuing the Fight Against Childhood Obesity
While the childhood obesity rates have appeared to plateau, the current prevalence is still alarmingly high in the US. The racial disparity persists as black youth are disproportionately obese compared to their white counterparts. My current research broadly examines racial and socioeconomic disparities in cardiovascular risk among black and white girls who participated in the longitudinal National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Growth and Health Study (NGHS). More specifically, I have investigated the modifiable risk factors associated with eating disturbances, abdominal obesity, and cardiovascular biomarkers.
My research in the field of obesity prevention aims to expand the current literature and inform future policy. One of my studies has examined the influence of sugary beverage intake and abdominal obesity from childhood to late adolescence. My other study aims to extend the current knowledge on the association between abdominal obesity measures and cardiovascular biomarkers among minority youth—an area with limited research using longitudinal data.
While my doctoral experience had focused heavily on epidemiology and statistics, my overarching goal is to conduct applied research in obesity prevention to inform public health practice, policies, and interventions among communities of color. In the future, I would like to collaborate with community stakeholders, technology experts, and behavioral economists to develop creative environmental strategies that nudge children to improve their diet and physical activity.
–Christopher Viya Chau, MCH Nutrition Trainee, University of California, Berkeley