Julia Piazza, masterís student in nutritional sciences at UCís College of Allied Health Sciences, received a 2012 Student Research Award from the Society of Nutrition Education and Behavior (SNEB) at the societyís annual conference last week in Washington, D.C.
Piazzaís poster, "The Effects of a Clinical-Based Intervention on the Diet Quality of Post-Partum Women,Ē showed the findings of her masterís thesis under nutritional sciences chair Grace Falciglia, PhD.
In the study, Piazza and Falciglia worked with a group of overweight or obese post-partum women on diet intervention and increased vegetable consumption.
After six months, the women had increased their daily vegetable intake by 1.5 servingsóa significant change for the population, says Piazza.
"Thereís a lot of research that says post-partum is a poor time to intervene because of the stress involved. We were trying to see if this was a feasible time to initiative nutrition education,Ē says Piazza. "We didnít measure weight as an outcome. We were just focusing on whether they were receptive to nutrition education during this period, and our findings suggest that they were.Ē
"This finding is important because mothers who adopt healthier dietary behaviors not only benefit their own health but they may influence their childrenís diets," says Falciglia.
Piazza was one of five students recognized at the conference. She said going to the SNEB conference allowed her to network with others focused on the research, rather than the clinical, side of nutrition.
"Iím not a registered dietitian, so it was great to connect with people on the same wavelength as me in terms of research,Ē says Piazza. "I made a lot of connections with mentors in the fieldóit was a really great experience.Ē
Piazza plans on completing ongoing research with Falciglia this fall while working on her health coaching license.
The study was the pilot study of an National Institutes of Health-funded grant on healthy diets for mothers and their infants for obesity prevention. The study was also done in collaboration with a pediatrician and obstetrician.