I am a clinician-scientist trained as a Registered Dietitian with a research background in child health. Maternal and infant nutrition is related to child growth and later health as an adult. Hence, my research focuses on nutrition during the critical periods of development, from pregnancy to childhood. I have conducted seminal work on infant vitamin D requirements and continue to explore adherence and the appropriateness of current vitamin D recommendations for bone development. I am also interested in the diets of young children and how these relate to healthy growth. I work with vulnerable populations including those participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). My most recent work includes the development culturally adapted interventions for pediatric obesity management among Latinos.
■ Infant Vitamin D: Breast fed infants are susceptible to vitamin D deficiency because breast milk contains insufficient amounts. Hence, public health guidelines suggest infant vitamin D supplementation to begin at birth yet, only 1/3 of US infants meet this recommendation. My most recent work in this area explores adherence with current infant vitamin D policies and requirements among low-income and racially/ethnically diverse populations.
■ Vidas Activas y Familias Saludables (VALÉ): Latino children have an almost 3-fold higher risk of obesity, compared to their white counterparts. They also have less access to treatment programs. With colleagues in exercise and psychology, we developed a culturally-adapted pediatric weight management program in Latino communities. We are testing the effectiveness of family-based, group treatment among low-income Latino children who are overweight.
■ What Children Eat: Errors in dietary assessment limit the ability to assess to detect true diet- diseases associations. Children are unique in dietary assessment due to developmental and cognitive immaturity. Here we focus on improving the accuracy of dietary recalls among elementary school-aged children, through exploring age, body mass index and race/ethnicity.
■ S. Gallo et al., The effects of vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy on maternal and infant health outcomes: an evidence-based review and meta-analysis from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. J Acad Nutr Diet, (in press).
■ J. A. Rethy et al., Sociodemographic predictors of exclusive breast-feeding among low-income women attending a Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) programme. Public Health Nutrition 22(9), 1667-1674 (2019).
■ S. Gallo et al., Feasibility of a multidisciplinary and culturally-adapted pediatric weight management program for Latino families: results from the Vidas Activas y Familias Saludables (VALÉ) pilot study. J Nutr Educ Behav, (in press).
Peterson Hall | 4408 Patriot Circle, Fairfax, VA 22032