Susan I. Barr, PhD, RDN, FACSM, FDC
May 9, 2011 - 2:37pm — Ethan
Food, Nutrition and Health
FNH 244 - 2205 East Mall
Professor, Food Nutrition & Health
At the broadest level, my research interests relate to how women's cognitions about food, eating, and body weight may have physiological implications for their health. In the eating attitudes area, I have a particular interest in cognitive dietary restraint, which reflects the perception that food intake is constantly being limited in an effort to control body weight. The perceptual nature of restraint and similar eating attitudes is key, as food intake and relative weight are generally similar between groups of women with high versus low scores for restraint. We have shown that high levels of cognitive dietary restraint are associated with subclinical menstrual disturbances: In addition to implications for fertility, these disturbances are associated with bone loss in premenopausal women. We have also found that women with negative eating attitudes have slightly higher blood pressure. We hypothesize that dietary restraint and similar eating attitudes may be a subtle but frequently-encountered stressor, leading to changes in hormones that can influence health outcomes.
I also have an interest in dietary policy. I was involved in the development of the Dietary Reference Intakes (nutrient reference standards for Canada and the United States), and have also been a member of Health Canada committees working on revision of Canada's Food Guide and on dietary sodium reduction.