Lindiwe Sibeko

Associate Professor, Extension Faculty
204 Chenoweth


B.Sc., Mount Saint Vincent University; M.Sc., McGill University; PhD, McGill University; Postdoctoral Research Fellow: Transcultural Psychiatry; Dietitian; International Board Certified Lactation Consultant.

Area(s) of Specialization: 

Maternal and Child Health in racial/ethnic minorities and low-income populations (local, national & global settings), Breastfeeding & Lactation/Human Milk, Community-Based research, Prevention of Childhood Obesity

Research Description: 

My research interests are strongly influenced by my professional background in dietetics, lactation care/management and community health programming for at risk women and children, coupled with community-engaged research in the area of breastfeeding and human milk. I use a life-course framework that integrates research, education and extension outreach to improve health outcomes among women and children vulnerable to health disparities. Consequently, my research seeks to identify early risk factors at the individual, community and institutional levels in the population groups I work with; and to develop multilevel interventions that contribute to improved health outcomes, throughout the life course of vulnerable women, infants and children.

Current Projects:

1. Fruit and vegetable intervention in lactating women to reduce breast cancer risk: effects on breast cell DNA methylation, breast inflammation, and weight. NIH R01: The overall objective of this randomized controlled trial is to determine the extent to which a high fruit and vegetable diet can moderate inflammatory signals associated with breast cancer risk, and prevent excessive maternal weight retention/gain.

2. BCAC (Breastfeeding Community Action Coalition): BCAC is a Springfield based community engaged partnership focused on tackling breastfeeding inequities through development and evaluation of interventions/programs aimed at increasing breastfeeding initiation and duration rates among African American women. Breastfeeding has a significant protective impact on maternal and child health outcomes, including its role in infant survival and decreased risk of infant mortality.

3. Identifying Mechanisms of Peer Influence on Youth Weight-Related Behaviors- The FAST (Food Activity Screen Time) project. NIH R01: The purpose of this longitudinal study is to identify the mechanisms of action underlying peer influence on health behaviors by analyzing social network and weight-related behavior data in a cohort of diverse young adolescents during their middle school years (6th to 8th grade). Outcomes of the study can identify novel intervention strategies effective in motivating health behavior change among youth.

4. World University Network (WUN) A multidisciplinary network of international researchers, collaborating on studies focused on the African Child and Youth Wellbeing in the Context of Migration and Displacement.

Key Publications: 

Doughty KN, Reeves KW, Ronnenberg AG, Qian J, Sibeko L.  Barriers to Exclusive  Breastfeeding among Women with Gestational Diabetes Mellitus in the United States. J Obstet Gynecol Neonatal Nurs. 2018 May;47(3):301-315. doi: 10.1016/j.jogn.2018.02.005.Epub 2018 Mar 3.

Essa AR, Browne EP, Punska EC, Perkins K, Boudreau E, Wiggins H, Anderton DL, Sibeko L, Sturgeon SR, Arcaro KF. Dietary intervention to increase fruit and vegetable consumption in breastfeeding women: A pilot randomized trial measuring inflammatory markers in breast milk. J Acad Nutr Diet 2018; S2212-2672. doi:10.1016/j.jand.2018.06.015.

Lindiwe Sibeko, Anna Coutsoudis, Sphindile Nzuza, Katherine Gray-Donald. Mothers’ Infant Feeding Experiences: constraints and supports for optimal feeding in an HIV-impacted urban community in South Africa. Public Health Nutrition; 2009;12(11),1983-1990.

Cordeiro LS, Sibeko L, Nelson-Peterman J. Healthful, Cultural Foods and Safety Net Use Among Cambodian and Brazilian Immigrant Communities in Massachusetts. J Immigr Minor Health. 2017 Jun 12. doi: 10.1007/s10903-017-0607-3. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 28608262.

Hsiao B, Sibeko L, Wicks K & Troy, L. Mobile produce market influences access to fruits and Vegetables in an urban environment. Public Health Nutrition. 1-13; epub Jan 2018 doi:10.1017/S1368980017003755

 L Sibeko, MA Dhansay, KE Charlton, T Johns, K Gray-Donald. Beliefs, Attitudes and Practices of Breastfeeding Mothers from a Periurban Community in South Africa. J Human Lactation; 2005; 21(1): 31-38.

L Sibeko, MA Dhansay, KE Charlton, T Johns, ME Van Stuijvenberg, K Gray-Donald. Full-term, peri-urban South African infants under 6 months of age are at risk for early-onset anaemia; Public Health Nutrition; 2004; 7(6):813-820.