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Your Environment. Your Health.

Nutrition to Counteract the Harmful Effects of Environmental Exposures

Partnerships for Environmental Public Health (PEPH)

July 26, 2019

multivitamins on a wooden spoon with fresh fruit

Research on the positive and negative contributions of nutrition to human health in the context of environmental exposures has been advancing over the last decade. Most research has focused on the consumption of foods high in antioxidants and healthy fats as they relate to chronic inflammatory diseases. Such research includes the examination of how dietary practices may increase an individual's susceptibility to negative effects from environmental pollution. Researchers also are looking at dietary intake at different life stages – from prenatal to childhood to later life – and its potential health protective effects from environmental exposures. In this webinar, we heard from three investigators examining the complex interplay between nutrition, environmental exposures, and health. One presenter highlighted her research on prenatal antioxidant intake, maternal social stress, and child health outcomes. Another presenter described her work on omega-3 fatty acids, indoor air, and childhood asthma. The third presenter focused on older adult perceptions about the protective effects of nutrition and her work to increase environmental health literacy to promote behavior change.



Rosalind Wright, M.D., M.P.H.

Rosalind Wright, M.D., M.P.H. is dean for translational biomedical research at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and is also a professor in the school’s departments of pediatrics, medicine, and environmental medicine and public health. As a developmental epidemiologist with transdisciplinary training in environmental health and stress mechanisms, she has a primary interest in prenatal and early childhood predictors of developmental diseases, including asthma, obesity, neurobehavioral development, and lung growth and development. She and her team implement studies on the role of social and physical environmental factors in explaining health disparities among lower socioeconomic status urban populations.

Nadia Hansel, M.D., M.P.H.

Nadia Hansel, M.D., M.P.H. is a professor of medicine, director of pulmonary and critical care medicine, and associate dean for research at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and she also serves as chair of the Scientific Advisory Board at the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. She studies the clinical, pathophysiologic, and public health aspects of diseases, including asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Much of her recent work has focused on environmental exposures, including indoor air quality and asthma and COPD outcomes.

Dawn Brewer, Ph.D.

Dawn Brewer, Ph.D. is a registered dietitian and an assistant professor in the Department of Dietetics and Human Nutrition at the University of Kentucky. She currently serves as the director of the Didactic Program in Dietetics, and she also leads the Community Engagement Core of the University of Kentucky’s Superfund Research Center. Dr. Brewer conducts community-engaged research by intervening at multiple levels of the Social Ecological Model to increase the quantity and variety of fruit and vegetable consumption among adults, particularly rural Appalachians. As part of the Superfund Research Center, she has focused on translating and communicating the Center’s research on how good nutrition and physical activity may mitigate the negative health effects of environmental pollution.

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