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Diabetes, Cardiovascular Disease, Nutrition

Chronic conditions such as diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease are leading causes of death in the United States. As emerging economies adopt Westernized diets and lifestyles, obesity and its associated diseases are also rising at an alarming rate.

Meanwhile, many countries are now facing a double burden of undernutrition in children and overweight and obese adults. Malnutrition increases morbidity and mortality from infectious diseases, and can increase infectious-disease risk and severity of an infection, all the while impairing the response to treatment. In addition, infectious diseases can, in turn, increase malnutrition.

Given the prevalence of infectious diseases and the spread of drug resistant pathogens, innovative nutritional and lifestyle approaches to decreasing morbidity and mortality from infection and delaying the spread of drug resistance are needed to address the global burden of disease.

To address these conditions, YSPH researchers use rigorous interdisciplinary and epidemiologic methods to understand and mitigate the roles of:

  • Nutrition

  • Exercise

  • Traditional risk factor

  • Genetics

  • Biomarkers

  • Access to health service

  • Community-based characteristics on disease rates and outcomes

  • Lifestyle interventions

  • Breastfeeding

  • Climate change

Practice- and community-based research and initiatives

  • The Community Alliance for Research and Engagement (CARE) works to improve health in New Haven among people most impacted by disparities, including Black and Brown communities and low-income populations through collaborative research, practice, and engagement. CARE has a specific focus on addressing risk factors for chronic disease, with a focus on access and barriers to healthy nutrition, physical activity and social determinants of health.

  • The Yale Griffin Prevention Research Center (Y-G PRC) is one of 25 CDC-funded Prevention Research Centers around the country, with its focus on chronic-disease prevention.

A core project of the Yale-Griffin PRC is assessing implementation, uptake and impact of the virtual delivery of a diabetes prevention program (v-DPP), with support from community health workers and community nurses, in order to improve health in low-income communities in New Haven, Derby, and Ansonia, Connecticut. Additionally, the PRC’s long-standing work includes supporting community agencies/organizations, and driving coalitions focused on addressing social determinants of health (e.g., food security) through interventions, evaluation, research and systems change.

  • Globally, the Becoming Breastfeed Friendly initiative works with local communities and health ministries to address policy and infrastructure to promote better maternal child nutrition through breastfeeding.

  • The Samoan Obesity, Lifestyle and Genetic Adaptations Study Group (OLAGA) group is focused on maternal child health and nutrition in Samoa.