The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Susan Park

Involvement: 

Award: 

Dissertation Award

School or College: 

School of Public Health and Health Sciences

Mentor: 

Dr. Lisa Chasan-Taber

Bio: 

Susan Park is a PhD student in Epidemiology in the School of Public Health and Health Sciences. Under the mentorship of her advisor, Dr. Lisa Chasan-Taber, she is currently the Project Manager for an NIH-funded study which aims to use novel tools to validate the Pregnancy Physical Activity Questionnaire. Her dissertation will use data from Estudio Parto, a randomized controlled trial, to examine the impact of a pregnancy lifestyle intervention, including physical activity and diet, on adverse birth outcomes in at-risk Hispanic women.

Research: 

Adverse Birth Outcomes among At-Risk Hispanic Women

For many families, a healthy baby is one of the most important outcomes of pregnancy. Pregnancy can also be a ‘teachable moment’ as women may have increased motivation to improve their own health for the growing fetus. Adverse birth outcomes including preterm birth, low birth weight, and small-for-gestational age, are associated with risk of childhood obesity and the subsequent development of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Hispanics represent the largest minority group in the U.S. and are disproportionately obese, reporting inadequate physical activity, sleep habits, and diet quality compared to non-Hispanic whites. Hispanics have also had limited access to public health interventions that promote healthy lifestyles due to cultural factors, socioeconomic, and language barriers. Susan’s research aims to determine the effect of a pregnancy lifestyle intervention (diet and physical activity) on adverse birth outcomes in at-risk Hispanic women. Effective interventions could significantly improve the quality of life and future health of Hispanic mothers and their children.