Punam Ohri-Vachaspati

Arizona Biomedical Collaborative Building
425 N 5th Street
Senior Sustainability Scientist
Faculty
DTPHX Campus
Mailcode
9020
Professor
Faculty
DTPHX Campus
Mailcode
9020
Professor
Faculty
DTPHX Campus
Mailcode
9020

Biography

Punam Ohri-Vachaspati is a professor of nutrition and leads the ASU Food Environment and Policy research group. In 2017, she completed the RWJF Health Policy Fellowship working in Senator Gillibrands office in Washington DC. Her research interests center on public health nutrition, including: 

  • Social-ecological determinants of obesity
  • Role of environments and policies in influencing behaviors and health outcomes
  • Determinants of food access among disadvantaged populations
  • Assessment of federal nutrition assistance programs and policies
  • Assessment of food and physical activity environments
  • Study of nutrition interventions in schools and community settings.

 

Education

  • RD - Case Western Reserve University, OH, 1997
  • PhD - Tufts University, MA, 1994
    Applied Nutrition and Food Policy
  • MS - Tufts University, MA, 1991
    Applied Nutrition and Food Policy
  • MS - Delhi University, 1982
    Food and Nutrition

Research Interests

Research focus: Public Health Nutrition

  • Social-ecological determinants of obesity
  • Role of environments and policies in influencing behaviors and health outcomes
  • Determinants of food access among disadvantaged populations
  • Assessment of federal nutrition assistance programs and policies
  • Assessment of food and physical activity environments
  • Study of nutrition interventions in schools and community settings.

Research Group

ASU Food Policy and Environment Research Group

Publications

Selected Recent Publications

Acciai F, Yedidia M, Martinelli S, DeWeese R, Ohri-Vachaspati P. School food and physical activity environment: A longitudinal analysis of four school districts in New Jersey. Under review at J Adolesc Health. Forthcoming.

DeWeese R, Ohri-Vachaspati P, Adams M, Kurka J, Han SY, Todd M, Yedidia M. Patterns of food and physical activity environments related to children's food and activity behaviors: A latent class analysis. Health and Place, Vol 49, January 2018, Pages 19-29. 

Karpyn A, DeWeese RS, Pelletier J, Laska M, Ohri-Vachaspati P, Deahl-Greenlaw A, Ughwanogho R, Jilcott Pitts S. Examining the feasibility of healthy minimum stocking standards for small food stores. J Acad Nutr and Diet. 2018 Sep;118(9):1655-1663.  

Ohri-Vachaspati P, Dachenhaus E, Green J, Mollner K, Hekler E, Todd M.  Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) and Requests for Fruits and Vegetables Outside School Settings. J Acad Nutr and Diet. Volume 118, Issue 8, 2018, Pages 1408-1416.  

Gruner J, Ohri-Vachaspati P, Lorts C, DeWeese R, Yedidia M. FDA menu labeling: Predicted impact in four New Jersey cities. Am J Public Hlth. 2018 Feb;108(2):234-240.

Vaudrin N, Lloyd K, Yedidia M, Todd M, Ohri-Vachaspati P. Impact of the 2010 US Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act: A longitudinal analysis of school breakfast and lunch participation rates between 2008-2015. Am J Public Hlth. 2018 Jan;108(1):84-86.    

Tasevska N, DeLia D, Lorts C, Yedida MJ, Ohri-Vachaspati P. Socio-demographic differences in predictors of sugar sweetened beverage consumption among 3-18 year old children. J Acad Nutr and Diet. 2017 December, Volume 117, Issue 12:1900-1920.  

Gruner J, Ohri-Vachaspati P. Food and Beverage Selection Patterns among Menu Label Users and Nonusers: Results from a Cross-Sectional Study. J Acad Nutr Diet 2017 Jun;117(6):929-936.

Freedman D, Flocke A, Shon, Matlack K, Trapl E, Ohri-Vachaspati, Osborne, & Borawski E. Farmers' market use patterns among Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program recipients with high access to farmers' markets. J Nutr Educ Behavior, 2017 May;49(5):397-404.  

DeWeese RS, Ohri-Vachaspati P. Cost of children's healthy versus unhealthy snacks do not differ at convenience stores. J Nutr Educ Behavior, 2017 Mar;49(3):241-243.      

Lorts C, Ohri-Vachaspati P. Disparities in who receives doctor’s advice to lose weight: does income make a difference? Prev Chronic Dis, 2016 Oct 6;13:E142.  

DeWeese RS, Todd M, Karpyn A, Yedidia MJ, Kennedy M, Bruening M, Wharton CM, Ohri-Vachaspati P. Short-form audit instrument for assessing corner store healthfulness. Am J Health Promot. 2016 Dec 6. pii: 0890117116679059. [Epub ahead of print]

DeWeese RS, Todd M, Karpyn A, Yedidia MJ, Kennedy M, Bruening M, Wharton CM, Ohri-Vachaspati P. Healthy store programs and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), but not the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), are associated with corner store healthfulness. Prev Med Rep. 2018 Jan;32(1):224-232.  doi: 10.1177/0890117116679059. Epub 2016 Dec 6.

Lorts C, Ohri-Vachaspati P.  Eating patterns among low-income obese adults: does the doctor’s advice carry any weight?  Prev Med. 2016, 87: 89–94

Freedman DA, Schneider C, Vaudrin N, Trapl E, Ohri-Vachaspati P, Taggart M, Cascio MA, Walsh C, Flocke, S. Narrative review of factors influencing farmer’s market use overall and among low-income populations. J Acad Nutr and Diet. 2016 Jul;116(7):1136-55

Turner L, Ohri-Vachaspati P, Powell L, Chaloupka F. Disparities and improvements in elementary school lunches from 2006-07 to 2012-13.  Prev Chronic Dis, 2016 Mar 17;13:E39.  

Ohri-Vachaspati P, Turner L, Adams M, Bruening M, Chaloupka FJ. School resources  and engagement in technical assistance programs is associated with higher prevalence of salad bars in elementary school lunches in the US. J Acad Nutr and Diet. 2016 Mar;116(3):417-26.    

DeWeese R, Ohri-Vachaspati P. The role of distance in examining the association between active commuting to school and students' weight status. J Phys Act Health, 2015, 12(9).

Adams MA, Bruening M, Ohri-Vachaspati P, Hurley JC.  Location of school lunch salad bars and fruit and vegetable consumption in middle schools: a corss-sectional plate waste study. J Acad Nutr and Diet. 2016 Mar;116(3):407-16.

Adams M, Bruening M, Ohri-Vachaspati P.   Use of salad bars in schools to increase fruit and vegetable consumption:  Where’s the evidence? J Acad Nutr and Diet. 2015 Aug; 115(8):1233-6.

Ohri-Vachaspati P, Isgor Z, Rimkus L, Powell LM, Barker D, Chaoupka F. Child-Directed Marketing Inside and on the Exterior of Fast-Food Restaurants. Am J Prev Med, 2015 Jan;48(1):22-30.

Ohri-Vachaspati P, DeLia D, DeWeese R, Crespo N, Todd M, Yedidia M. The Relative Contribution of Layers of the Social Ecological Model to Childhood Obesity.  Public Health Nutr. 2015 Aug;18(11):2055-66.  CA. 

Tang X, Ohri-Vachaspati P, Abbott J, Aggarwal R, Tulloch D, Lloyd K, Yedidia M.  Associations between food environment around schools and professionally measured weight status for middle and high school students.  Child Obes.  2014, 10 (6), 511-517. 

 Zenk SN, Powell LM, Rimkus L, Isgor Z, Barker D, Ohri-Vachaspati P, Chaloupka F. Relative and absolute availability of healthier food and beverage alternatives differ across communities in the United States. Am J Public Health, 2014, 104 (11), 2170-2178. 

Rimkus L, Ohri-Vachaspati P, Powell LM, Zenk SN, Quinn CM, Barker DC, Pugach O, Resnick EA, Chaloupka FJ. Development and reliability testing of a fast food restaurant observation form.  Am J Health Promot, 2014, 45 (6), 540-548.

Bertmann FM, Barroso C, Ohri-Vachaspati P, Hampl J, Sell K, Wharton CM. Women, Infants, and Children Cash Value Voucher (CVV) use in Arizona: A qualitative exploration of barriers and strategies related to fruit and vegetable purchases. J Nutr Educ and Behav, 2014;46(3):S53–S58..

 Ohri-Vachaspati P.  Parental perception of the healthfulness of school meals and its association with student behavior. Appetite. 2013, 74, 44-47.

DeWeese R, Yedidia M, Tulloch D, Ohri-Vachaspati P. Associations of neighborhood perceptions with active school commuting in low-income cities. Am J Prev Med. 2013. 45 (4), 393-400. CA.

Ohri-Vachaspati P, Lloyd K, DeLia D, Yedidia M. A closer examination of the relationship between childhood obesity and the food and physical activity environment. Prev Med. 2013, 57 (3), 162-167..

Ohri-Vachaspati P, Turner L, Chaloupka F. Elementary school participation in the United States Department of Agriculture’s Team Nutrition program is associated with more healthful school lunches. J Nutr Educ and Behav. 2013, 45 (6), 733-738. 

Rimkus L, Powell LM, Zenk S, , Han E, Ohri-Vachaspati P, Pugach O, Barker D, Resnick E, Quinn C., Myllylluoma J, Chaloupka FJ.  Development and reliability testing of a food store observation form. J Nutr Educ and Behav. 2013, 45 (6), 540-548. 

Kirkpatrick SI, Reedy J, Kahle LL, Harris JL, Ohri-Vachaspati P, Krebs-Smith SM. Fast food menu offerings vary in dietary quality, but are consistently poor. Public Health Nutr. 2013. 2013; 15:1-8. 

Ohri-Vachaspati P, Turner L, Chaloupka F. Fresh fruit and vegetable program participation in elementary schools in the United States and availability of fruits and vegetables in school lunch meals. J Acad Nutr and Diet. 2012;112(6):921-926.  

Ohri-Vachaspati P, Turner L, Chaloupka F. Alliance for a healthier generation's competitive beverage and food guidelines: Do elementary school administrators know about them and do they report implementing them?  J Sch Health. 2012;82:469-477.

Bertmann F, Ohri-Vachaspati P, Buman M, Wharton CM. Implementation of wireless terminals at farmers' markets: Impact on SNAP redemption and overall sales. Am J Public Health. 2012;102(7):e53-e55.

Research Activity

Current Active Grants and Projects:

Funding Agency:  National Institutes of Health (NHLBI-R01)                 

Dates: September 2017 – July 2021                                          
Role: PI                        P. Ohri-Vachaspati, ASU and M. Yedidia, Rutgers  (Dual PI)  

Title:  Examining Obesity Declines among School Children: The Role of Changes in the Food and Physical Activity Environments.

This study aims to identify alterable factors in the food and PA environment associated with declines in obesity rates among school children in order to develop tailored interventions for reducing the burden of childhood obesity in schools and communities across the country.
 

Funding Agency:  Robert Wood Johnson Foundation                               

Dates: September 2016 – June 2019                                          
Role: PI                        P. Ohri-Vachaspati (PI)  

Title: Healthy Policy Fellowship.  

 

Funding Agency:  National Institutes of Health (NICHD-R01)                     

Dates: March 2012 – July 2019                                     
Role: PI                        P. Ohri-Vachaspati, ASU and M. Yedidia, Rutgers  (Dual PI)  

Title:  Impact of Environmental Changes on Children's BMI and Behaviors: A Panel Study.

This longitudinal study is tracking changes in food and PA behaviors and weight outcomes among 1200 low-income children in five New Jersey cities and capturing changes in their environment. The project aims to assess the impact of environmental changes on children’s weight outcomes and associated behaviors.

Courses

Spring 2019
Course NumberCourse Title
NTR 492Honors Directed Study
NTR 493Honors Thesis
NTR 527Policies, Environment &Obesity
NTR 599Thesis
EXW 692Research
NTR 692Research
EXW 792Research
EXW 799Dissertation
Fall 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
OBS 501Obesity Prevention Management
EXW 692Research
Summer 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
NTR 692Research
NTR 792Research
Spring 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
NTR 500Research Methods
EXW 692Research
EXW 792Research
EXW 799Dissertation
Fall 2017
Course NumberCourse Title
NTR 501Research Methods/Nutrition II
Spring 2016
Course NumberCourse Title
EXW 100Intro to Health and Wellness
Fall 2015
Course NumberCourse Title
NTR 501Research Methods/Nutrition II
OBS 598Special Topics
Fall 2014
Course NumberCourse Title
NTR 501Research Methods/Nutrition II
OBS 598Special Topics