Punam Ohri-Vachaspati

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

Biography

Punam Ohri-Vachaspati, PhD, RD, is a professor of nutrition at the College of Health Solutions at Arizona State University, where she leads the ASU Food Environment and Policy research group. Her research, funded by the National Institutes of Health, the United States Department of Agriculture, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and local organizations, examines social determinants of health, specifically in low-income minority communities.  She studies the impact of federal, state, and local policies in shaping environments in school settings and in communities. Her work assesses the influence of access to healthy food and opportunities for physical activity on health outcomes and associated behaviors. She teaches graduate-level courses and mentors students interested in exploring public health approaches for improving healthy food access, eating behaviors, and health outcomes. 

Education

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

1.     Eliason J, Acciai F, DeWeese R, Vega-López S, Ohri-Vachaspati P. Children’s consumption patterns and their parent’s perception of a healthy diet. Nutrients 202012(8), 2322; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12082322.  

2.     Dighe S, Lloyd K, Acciai F, Martinelli S, Yedidia M, Ohri-Vachaspati P. Healthier School Food and Physical Activity Environments are Associated with Lower Student Body Mass Index. Prev Med Rep. 2020. May 8;19:101115. doi: 10.1016/j.pmedr.2020.101115. eCollection 2020 Sep.PMID: 32509507

3.     Gruner J, DeWeese RS, Evans B, Acosta-Ortiz, Bruening M, Mollner K, Lacagnina G, Ohri-Vachaspati P.   Qualitative research exploring support for public private partnerships to expand the reach of the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2020 Jul 3:S2212-2672(20)30349-X. doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2020.04.014.. 
 

4.     Martinelli S, Acciai F, Au LE, Yedidia MJ, Ohri-Vachaspati P. Parental Perceptions of the Nutritional Quality of School Meals and Student Meal Participation: Before and After the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act [published online ahead of print, 2020 Jul 9]. J Nutr Educ Behav. 2020;S1499-4046(20)30417-6. doi:10.1016/j.jneb.2020.05.003.  

5.     Steeves S, Acciai F, DeWeese R, Tasevska N, Yedidia MJ, Ohri-Vachaspati P. The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children Spillover Effect: Do Siblings Reap the Benefits?  J Acad Nutr and Diet. 2020 May 10:S2212-2672(20)30197-0. doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2020.02.013. PMID: 32402760. 

6.     Ohri-Vachaspati P, Acciai F, DeLia D, Lloyd K, Yedidia M. Accuracy of Parent-Measured and Parent-Estimated Heights and Weights in Determining Child Weight Status. JAMA Pediatrics.  2019 Dec 9;173(8):1-3. doi: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2019.1545. PMID: 31206143. 

7.     Ohri-Vachaspati P, DeWeese R, Acciai F, DeLia D, Tulloch D, Tong D, Lorts C, Yedidia M. Healthy food access in low-income high-minority communities: A longitudinal assessment - 2009 – 2017. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health. 2019 Jul 3;16(13):2354. doi:10.3390/ijerph16132354. PMID: 31277250. 

8.     Acciai F, Yedidia MJ, Martinelli S, DeWeese R, Ohri-Vachaspati P. School food and physical activity environment: A longitudinal analysis of four school districts in New Jersey. J Adolesc Health. 2019 August;65(2):216-223. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2019.01.006. PMID: 30922785. 

9.     Lorts C, Adams MA, Tasevska N, Tulloch D, Yedidia M, Hooker S, Ohri-Vachaspati P. Community Food Environment Moderates Association between Health Care Provider Advice to Lose Weight and Eating Behaviors. Prev Med Reports. 2019 June 22;15:100926. doi: 10.1016/j.pmedr.2019.100926. PMID: 31312593.
 

10.  Karpyn A, Ruhs B, Sawyer Morris G, Weiss S., Grajeda S, LeVine D, Ohri-Vachaspati P.  Evaluation of a supermarket environmental change intervention: Findings from a low-fat milk couponing and educational marketing pilot. Journal of Human Sciences and Extension. 2020 Mar 3;8(1):145-162.  

11.  Tsai M, Ritchie LD, Ohri-Vachaspati P, Au LE. Student perception of healthfulness, school lunch healthfulness and participation in school lunch: The Healthy Communities Study. Revised and submitted to J Nutr Educ Behav. 2019 May; 51(5):623-628. doi: 10.1016/j.jneb.2019.01.014. PMID: 30850302

12.  Lorts C, Tasevska N, Adams M, Yedidia M, Tulloch D, Hooker SP, Ohri-Vachaspati, P. Participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Dietary Behaviors: Role of Community Food Environment. J Acad Nutr and Diet. 2019 June;119(6):934-943.e2. doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2018.11.021. PMID: 30745070. 

13.  Bruening M, van Woerden I, Schaefer DR, Hruschka D, Brewis A, Whisner CM, Dunton GF, Todd M, Ohri-Vachaspati P, Laska MN. Friendship as a social mechanism influencing body mass index (BMI) among emerging adults. PLoS ONE. 2018 Dec 18;13(12):e0208894. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0208894. PMID: 30562375. 

14.  Adams M, Ohri-Vachaspati P, Richards T, Todd M, Bruening M. Design and Rationale for Evaluating Salad Bars and Students' Fruit and Vegetable Consumption: A Cluster Randomized Factorial Trial with Objective Assessments. Contemporary Clinical Trials. 2019 Feb;77:37-45. doi: 10.1016/j.cct.2018.12.007. PMID: 30572161.

15.  Hurley JC, Bruening M, Ohri-Vachaspati P, Adams MA. Demographic Relationships to Students’ Fruit and Vegetable Intake. Am J Health Behav. 2018 Nov 1:42(6):60-69. doi: 10.5993/AJHB.42.6.6. PMID: 30158001. 

16.  Ashurst J, van Woerden I, Dunton GF, Todd M, Swan P, Ohri-Vachaspati P, Bruening M. The Association among Emotions and Food Choices in First-Year College Students Using mobile-Ecological Momentary Assessments BMC Public Health. 2018 May 2;18(1):573. doi: 10.1186/s12889-018-5447-0. PMID: 29716572.

17.  Freedman DA, Lee E, Ohri-Vachaspati P, Trapl E, Borawski E, Bess K,  Flocke S. Predictors of farmers' market shopping among people Receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits. Am J Community Psychol. 2018 April 16;61(3-4):488-499. doi: 10.1002/ajcp.12245. PMID: 29659024. 

18.  Bruening M, Adams M, Ohri-Vachaspati P, Hurley J. School-level practices and perceptions associated with salad bars in schools. J Sch Health. 2018 Jun;88(6):416-422. doi: 10.1111/josh.12624. PMID: 29749002.

19.  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 Place. 2018 Jan;49:19-29. doi: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2017.11.002. PMID: 29156415.  

20.  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. doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2017.12.006. PMID: 29650459.

21.  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. 2018 Aug;118(8):1408-1416. doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2017.10.013. PMID: 29325891.

22.  Gruner J, Ohri-Vachaspati P, Lorts C, DeWeese R, Yedidia M. Predicted impact of the Food and Drug Administration’s menu-labeling regulations on restaurants in four New Jersey cities. Am J Public Health. 2018 Feb;108(2):234-240. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2017.304162. PMID: 29267051. 

23.  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 and 2015. Am J Public Health. 2018 Jan;108(1):84-86. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2017.304102. PMID: 29161063. 

24.  Bruening M, Adams MA, Ohri-Vachaspati P, Hurley J. Prevalence and Implementation practices of school salad bars across grade levels. Am J Hlth Promot. 2018 Jul;32(6):1375-1382. doi: 10.1177/0890117116689159. PMID: 29214812. 

25.  Flocke SA, Ohri-Vachaspati P, Shon E, Trapl ES, Borawski E, Matlack K, Freedman DA. Developing multidimensional measures of healthy food access among low-income adults in Cleveland, Ohio. Public Health Nutrition. 2017 Nov;20(16): 2859-2868. doi: 10.1017/S1368980017002002. PMID: 28847323. 

26.  Tasevska N, DeLia D, Lorts C, Yedida MJ, Ohri-Vachaspati P. Determinants of sugar-sweetened beverage consumption among low-income children: Are there differences by race/ethnicity, age, and sex?. J Acad Nutr and Diet. 2017 December;117(12):1900-1920. doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2017.03.013. PMID: 28495478. 

27.  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. doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2016.12.012. PMID: 28215456. 
 

28.  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.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.jneb.2017.01.007. PMID: 28274790. 

29.  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.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.jneb.2016.11.006. PMID: 28073622.

30.  Bruening M, Ohri-Vachaspati P, Brewis A, Laska M, Todd M, Hruschka D, Schaefer DR, Whisner CM, Dunton G. Longitudinal social networks impacts on weight and weight-related behaviors assessed using mobile-based ecological momentary assessments: Study protocols for the SPARC study. BMC Public Health. 2016 Aug 30;16(1):901. doi: 10.1186/s12889-016-3536-5. PMID: 27576358. 

31.  Lorts C, Ohri-Vachaspati P. Disparities in who receives weight-loss advice from a health care provide: Does income make a difference?. Prev Chronic Dis. 2016 Oct 6;13:E142. doi: 10.5888/pcd13.160183. PMID: 27710763. 

32.  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. 2018 Jan;32(1):224-232. doi: 10.1177/0890117116679059. PMID: 27923884.

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)                     

 

Courses

Fall 2020
Course Number Course Title
CHS 492 Honors Directed Study
NTR 501 Research Methods/Nutrition
NTR 599 Thesis
NTR 692 Research
NTR 792 Research
NTR 799 Dissertation
Summer 2020
Course Number Course Title
NTR 599 Thesis
NTR 692 Research
NTR 792 Research
NTR 799 Dissertation
Spring 2020
Course Number Course Title
NTR 599 Thesis
NTR 692 Research
NTR 780 Practicum
NTR 792 Research
NTR 799 Dissertation
Fall 2019
Course Number Course Title
NTR 501 Research Methods/Nutrition II
NTR 599 Thesis
EXW 692 Research
NTR 692 Research
NTR 792 Research
NTR 799 Dissertation
Summer 2019
Course Number Course Title
NTR 599 Thesis
NTR 692 Research
NTR 792 Research
Spring 2019
Course Number Course Title
NTR 492 Honors Directed Study
NTR 493 Honors Thesis
NTR 527 Policies, Environment &Obesity
NTR 599 Thesis
EXW 692 Research
NTR 692 Research
EXW 792 Research
EXW 799 Dissertation
Fall 2018
Course Number Course Title
OBS 501 Obesity Prevention Management
EXW 692 Research
Summer 2018
Course Number Course Title
NTR 692 Research
NTR 792 Research
Spring 2018
Course Number Course Title
NTR 500 Research Methods
EXW 692 Research
EXW 792 Research
EXW 799 Dissertation
Fall 2017
Course Number Course Title
NTR 501 Research Methods/Nutrition II
Spring 2016
Course Number Course Title
EXW 100 Intro to Health and Wellness