College of Health and Human Services
George Mason University
George Mason University Mason
George Mason University

MS Nutrition Students Presented at 2015 Experimental Biology Conference

June 17, 2015

MS Nutrition students Mengyi Dong (left), Jennifer Abell (second from left), and Ashley Shaw (far right) are joined by Nutrition and Food Studies Associate Professors Margaret Slavin, Constance Gewa, and Sina Gallo, at the 2015 Experimental Biology conference.

Three of George Mason’s MS Nutrition students, Jennifer Abell, Ashley Shaw, and Mengyi Dong, presented at Experimental Biology 2015, which was held March 28-April 1 in Boston. Experimental Biology is an annual multidisciplinary, scientific meeting featuring presentations in research and life sciences.

Abell and her colleagues studied the impact of early nutrition on the long-term development of obesity. Their presentation, entitled “Early Introduction of Complementary Foods is Associated with Higher BMI-for-Age but Not % Body Fat at 3 Years in Breast Fed Infants,” sought to fill in the gaps they noticed in previous related studies which, they noted, were “limited by retrospective analysis of infant feeding.”

Knowing that preschool is a critical time for obesity prevention, Shaw and her team took a closer look at child care centers. With the increase in child care taking place outside of the home where there are no national guidelines for nutrition and physical activity, they set up parent focus groups from two child development centers. The Environment and Policy Assessment Observation (EPAO) instrument was used to determine parent reception to such tools for the prevention of childhood obesity. Their study is entitled “Focus Groups Support the Use of the Environment and Policy Assessment Observation (EPAO) for Obesity Prevention in Childcare.”

Dong and her colleagues set out “to investigate the relationship between nutrition status and acculturation among first generation Chinese senior immigrants and Chinese seniors from two provinces (Guangdong and Liaoning) in China.” By looking at nutritional status indicators such as weight, height, waist and hip circumference, and blood pressure, Dong and her team determined that the nutritional status of the Chinese resident group was worse than the Chinese immigrant group in the United States. However, they did note that, as with other immigrant groups in the United States, the risk of obesity increases with the length of time living in the United States. Their study, “An Examination of Nutritional Status and Acculturation Among Chinese Senior Immigrants Living in Northern Virginia,” is one of the first examinations of the nutritional status among Chinese senior immigrants and their Chinese counterparts.