We investigate lipoprotein metabolism and metabolic syndrome in young adults. Additionally, we evaluate eating behaviors in order to understand means to maintain body weight. The
University of Rhode Island is working with City of Providence and the City of Central Falls Public School systems to develop curriculum for students (to be institutionalized within the school system) and provide teacher training related to obesity prevention.

Situation and priorities

Obesity is an enormous public health issue for Americans of all ages. Like the nation, Rhode Island has experienced substantial increases in overweight and obesity among all groups of residents. Such increases have profound effects on our state’s health care system, since obesity is strongly associated with several chronic diseases including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and asthma. According to NHANES data, 64% of U.S. adults exceed the “normal” range for BMI. In RI, 33% of adults are overweight and 17% of adults are considered obese; 25% of the state’s children and adolescents are either overweight or obese, with minorities disproportionately affected. Additionally, adolescents from lower income families have an even greater prevalence of being overweight when
compared with white adolescents from higher income families. Improved eating habits and food related behaviors would have a significant impact on overweight and obesity. For example, only about ¼ of the state’s adult population consumes the minimum of five daily servings of fruits and vegetables. Likewise, within meal behaviors also affect food intake and weight status. Priorities in these knowledge areas will be to clarify the physiological role of lipoproteins in human health and to develop, test and refine culturally sensitive weight management interventions and materials for young adults.

Goals of this Program

To reduce the risk of overweight/obesity and the incidence of related diseases in ethnic and lowincome populations. To clarify the role of lipoprotein metabolism and metabolic syndrome in human health.


Linda Sebelia
80 Washington Street , Room 30
Providence RI 02903

Dr. Alison Tovar
Assistant Professor
Nutrition and Food Sciences
203 Ranger Hall

Dr. Kathleen J. Melanson
Associate Professor
Nutrition and Food Sciences
202A Ranger Hall

Dr. Matthew J Delmonico
Associate Professor
Independence Square, Rm 214