Statistics Colloquium: "What's on your Plate?: Using Statistics to Understand Dietary Behavior in the U.S." - Briana Stephenson

December 3, 2019 - 4:30 pm
Statistics Colloquium: "What's on your Plate?" - Briana Stephenson; Dec. 3, 4:30 p.m., SMUD 206

It has been well documented that what we eat directly affects our health and risk of disease. Researchers have endeavored to understand how dietary habits and behaviors contribute to the risk or prevention of chronic diseases. The demographic diversity of the United States presents a uniquely complex task when attempting to understand consumption behaviors. What we eat may vary by where we reside, our ethnic or cultural background and our socioeconomic status. Time and again, research has focused on individual foods or nutrients to determine their association to population health outcomes, but this is not always realistic in practice because people do not consume individual foods or nutrients in isolation. The interrelationships between the different foods we consume are reflective of our lifestyles and specific to demographic customs. In population-based studies, diversity is often penalized or ignored for the sake of statistical power and interpretability. This limits the comprehension of dietary practices to the majority, overlooking key differences present in smaller, minority populations. In this talk, we will discuss statistical methods aimed to capture the dietary habits and behaviors in the United States. Using data obtained from large, multi-site studies on birth defects and migrant population health, we will demonstrate the application, impact and utility of these methods and discuss future directions to improve dietary pattern analysis in a continually diversifying population.

Contact Info

Tracie Rubeck
(413) 542-2100
image of e-mail address@amherst.edu