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U.S. Food Insecurity Then and Now: How Far Have We Come Since the 1980s?

Christine Olson headshot

Tay Gavin Erickson Lecture SeriesChristine M. Olson is a Professor of Community Nutrition in the Division of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell University.  Dr. Olson conducts research and extension-outreach programs focused on the nutritional concerns of women and children.  Dr. Olson’s research focuses on food insecurity in the US.  Her research group was involved in the development and validation of the items included in the Food Security Supplement in the Current Population Survey.  She has published numerous papers on the causes and consequences of food insecurity.  She was recently involved in a large multi-state project that followed low-income rural families over three years and studied factors associated with change in hunger and food insecurity status. 

Dr Olson also studies how weight gain during pregnancy and health behaviors (eating, physical activity, and breastfeeding) influence the development of obesity in women and their children.  A current project examines the efficacy of electronic communication interventions in promoting healthy body weights in childbearing women. 

Dr. Olson joined the faculty of the Division of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell University as an Assistant Professor in 1975 where she was promoted to Associate Professor in 1981 and Professor in 1991.  From 1998 to 2003, she was the Hazel E. Reed Human Ecology Extension Professor of Family Policy.  In 2002, she received the award for Excellence in Dietary Guidance from the Food and Nutrition Section of the American Public Health Association.  In 2006, her article on “Tracking of Food Choices across the Transition to Motherhood” received the Best Article Award from the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior.

Christine Olson will briefly review the history of monitoring food insecurity in the US population.  She will describe some of the key contributions of research to the understanding of the causes and consequences of food insecurity.  Finally, she will consider what, if any, influence monitoring and research has had on policies and programs to address food insecurity and speculate on future directions.

This lecture is sponsored by the Center for Research on Families’ Tay Gavin Erickson Lecture Series. The Center for Research on Families (CRF) is an endowed interdisciplinary research center in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and College of Natural Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The Tay Gavin Erickson Lecture Series brings internationally recognized speakers with expertise in family research to campus each year. The lecture series began in 1999 through an endowment established in memory of Tay Gavin Erickson. 


Christine M. Olson, Ph.D.
Professor of Community Nutrition
Division of Nutritional Sciences, Cornell University


Thursday, September 19, 2013 - 4:00pm


Campus Center, Room 917


Free and open to the public