Sonia Vega Lopez

Assoc Professor
DTPHX Campus


Sonia Vega-López is an associate professor in nutrition at the School of Nutrition and Health Promotion in the College of Health Solutions at Arizona State University. Dr. Vega-López is a bilingual and bicultural researcher, native of Mexico.  Her research focuses on studying lifestyle factors, particularly those related to diet and physical activity, and how to modify them for the prevention of chronic diseases among Hispanic individuals. During her doctoral studies and post-doctoral training, her research focused on conducting controlled interventions to assess the metabolic effects of specific dietary factors on cardiometabolic disease risk, lipoprotein metabolism, inflammation, and oxidative stress. More recently her work involves (1) studying how diet quality and physical activity affect chronic disease risk in minority and underserved populations; (2) designing and implementing culturally-tailored diet and physical activity interventions for chronic disease reduction among Hispanic families; and (3) assessing the effect of community-based interventions on biomarkers of disease risk.

She received her doctorate in nutritional sciences from the University of Connecticut (2002) and completed her postdoctoral training in the Laboratory for Atherosclerosis and Metabolic Research at University of California-Davis Medical Center (2002-2003) and the Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory at the Jean Mayer U.S.D.A. Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University (2003-2006).  


  • Ph.D. Nutritional Sciences, University of Connecticut 2002
  • M.S. Nutritional Sciences, University of Connecticut 2000
  • B.S. Food Chemistry, Universidad La Salle, Mexico, DF 1997

Research Interests

  • Nutrition and health disparities
  • Evaluation of the effects of diet and lifestyle modifications on chronic disease risk factors, obesity, the metabolic disease and diabetes management
  • Assessment of diet quality and its role in cardiometabolic health among Hispanic individuals
  • Development of culturally sensitive strategies to aid Hispanics and other high-risk populations in chronic disease prevention
  • Effect of diets and dietary components on the metabolism of cholesterol and lipoproteins


Select Recent Publications (past 5 years)

  • Friedman R, Lucio J, Vega-López S & Bruening M.  Exploring mindful eating and weight status among underserved youth and their parents living in public housing.  Mindfulness.  (In press)
  • Pignotti GAP, Hook G, Ghan E & Vega-López S.  Efficacy of nopales (Opuntia spp) on lipoprotein profile and oxidative stress among moderately hypercholesterolemic adults: a randomized crossover trial. J Funct Foods. 2016;27:115-121. doi: 10.1016/j.jff.2016.08.060
  • Buman MP, Epstein DR, Gutierrez M, Herb C, Hollingshead K, Huberty JL, Hekler EB, Vega-López S, Ohri-Vachaspati P, Hekler AC & Baldwin CM.  BeWell24: Development and process evaluation of a smartphone “app” to improve sleep, sedentary, and active behaviors in US vetrans with increased metabolic risk.  Translational Behavioral Medicine: Practice, Policy and Research. 2016;6(3):438-448. doi:10.1007/x13142-015-0359-3
  • Kollannoor-Samuel G, Shebl FM, Segura-Pérez S, Chhabra J, Vega-López S & Pérez-Escamilla R.  Effects of food label use on diet quality and glycemic control among Latinos with type 2 diabetes in a community health worker-supported intervention.  Am J Publ Health.  2016;106(6):1059-1066. doi:10.2015/AJPH.2016.303091
  • Vega-López S, Pignotti GAP, Keller C, Todd M, Ainsworth B, Nagle Williams A, Records K, Coonrod D & Permana P.  Participation in a social-support physical activity intervention modestly improves lipoprotein cholesterol distribution among postpartum sedentary Hispanic women. Journal of Physical Activity and Health. 2015;12(9):1289-1297. doi:
  • Vega-López S, Pignotti GAP, Todd M & Keller C.  Egg intake and dietary quality among overweight and obese Mexican-American postpartum women.  Nutrients.  2015;7(10):8402-8412.  doi: 10.3390/nu7105402
  • Pignotti GAP, Vega-López S, Keller C, Belyea M, Ainsworth B, Nagle Williams A, Records K, Coonrod D, & Permana P.  Comparison and Evaluation of Dietary Quality between Older and Younger Mexican-American Women.  Public Health Nutrition. 2015;18(14):2615-2624. doi: 10.1017/S1368980014003085.
  • Pérez-Escamilla R, Damio G, Chhabra J, Fernandez ML, Segura-Pérez S, Vega-López S, Kollannoor-Samuel G, Calle M, Shebl F & D’Agostino D.  Impact of community health workers-led structured program on blood glucose control among Latinos with type 2 diabetes: the DIALBEST trial.  Diabetes Care. 2015;38(2):197-205. doi: 10.2337/dc14-0327.
  • Records K, Keller C, Coonrod D, Ainsworth B, Todd M, Belyea M, Nagle Williams A, Permana P & Vega-López S.  Correlates of depressive symptoms after birth for Latinas who are overweight or obese.  Health Care for Women International.  2015;36(3):356-374. doi: 10.1080/07399332.2014.973956
  • Larkey LK, Vega-López S, Keller C, McClain D, Ainsworth BE, Ohri-Vachaspati P, Smith L & Jeong M.  A biobehavioral model for exploring weight loss associated with meditative movement practice among breast cancer survivors.  Health Psychology Open.  2014;July-Dec:1-10. doi: 10.1177/2055102914565495
  • Ryder JR, Vega-López S, Gaesser GA, Buman MP & Shaibi GQ.  Heterogeneous vascular responses to lifestyle intervention in obese Latino adolescents.  Metabolic Syndrome and Related Disorders.  2014;12(10):509-515. doi: 10.1089/met.2014.0060
  • Keller C, Ainsworth B, Records K, Todd M, Belyea M, Vega-López S, Permana P & Coonrod D.  A comparison of a social support physical activity intervention in weight management among post-partum Latinas.  BMC Public Health.  2014;14:971. doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-971.
  • Brooks NE, Cadena SM, Cloutier G, Vega-López S, Roubenoff, Castaneda-Sceppa C.  Influence of exercise on the metabolic profile caused by 28 days of bed rest with energy deficit and amino acid supplementation in healthy men.  Int J Med Sci.  2014;11(12):1248-1257. doi: 10.7150/ijms.9694.
  • Joseph RP, Ainsworth BE, Vega-López S & Keller C.  Use of the Stanford Brief Activity Survey for physical activity assessment in postpartum Latinas: A validation study of a linguistically translated Spanish version.  Hispanic Health Care International.  2014;12(3):146-154. doi: 10.1891/1540-4153.12.3.146
  • Keller C, Vega-López S, Ainsworth B, Nagle-Williams A, Records K, Permana P & Coonrod DV.  Social marketing: Approach to cultural and contextual relevance in a community-based physical activity intervention.  Health Promotion International. 2014;29(1):130-140. doi:10.1093/heapro/das053.
  • Vega-López S, Chavez A, Farr K & Ainsworth B.  Validity and reliability of two brief physical activity questionnaires among Spanish-speaking individuals of Mexican descent. BMC Research Notes.  2014;7:29.  doi: 10.1186/1756-0500-7-29.
  • Ryder JR, Vega-López S, Djedjos CS & Shaibi GQ.  Abdominal adiposity, insulin resistance, and oxidized low-density lipoprotein in Latino adolescents.  Diabetology & Metabolic Syndrome.  2013;5(1):72. doi:10.1186/1758-5996-5-72.
  • Vega-López S, Ausman LM, Matthan NR & Lichtenstein AH.  Postprandial lipid responses to standard carbohydrates used to determine glycaemic index values.  British Journal of Nutrition.  2013;110(10):1782-1788.  doi: 10.1017/S000711451300130X.
  • Vega-López S, Calle MC, Fernandez ML, Kollannoor-Samuel G, Chhabra J, Todd M, Segura-Pérez S, D’Agostino D, Damio G & Pérez-Escamilla R.  Triglyceride screening may improve cardiometabolic disease risk assessment in Latinos with poorly controlled type 2 diabetes. Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved.  2013;24(4):1739-1755.  doi: 10.1353/hpu.2013.0171.
  • Ryder JR, Vega-López S, Ortega R, Konopken Y & Shaibi GQ.  Lifestyle intervention improves lipoprotein particle size and distribution without weight-loss in obese Latino adolescentes.  International Journal of Pediatric Obesity.  2013;8(5):E59-E63. doi: 10.1111/j.2047-6310.2013.00162.x.
  • Calle MC, Vega-López S, Segura-Pérez S, Pérez-Escamilla R & Fernandez ML.  A dietary pattern low in fruits explains variations in inflammation and in biomarkers of cardiovascular disease in Latinos diagnosed with type-2 diabetes. British Journal of Medicine and Medical Research. 2013;3(4):1558-1573.
  • Ainsworth BE, Keller C, Herrmann S, Belyea M, Records K, Nagle-Williams A, Vega-López S, Permana P & Coonrod D.  Physical activity and sedentary behavior patterns in postpartum Latinas: Madres para la Salud.  Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.  2013;45(7):1298-1306. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3182863de5.
  • Keller C, Todd M, Ainsworth B, Records K, Vega-López S, Permana P, Coonrod DV & Nagle Williams A.  Overweight, obesity, and neighborhood characteristics among postpartum Latinas.  Journal of Obesity. 2013;(2013):Article ID 916468.
  • Lindberg NM, Stevens VJ, Vega-López S, Kauffman T, Rosales Calderón M & Cervantes MA.  A weight-loss intervention program designed for Mexican-American women: Cultural adaptations and results.  Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health.  2012;14(6):1030-1039.  doi: 10.1007/s10903-012-9616-4
  • Kollannoor-Samuel G, Vega-López S, Chhabra J, Segura-Pérez S, Damio G & Pérez-Escamilla R.  Food insecurity and low self-efficacy are associated with health care access barriers among Puerto-Ricans with type 2 diabetes.  Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health. 2012;14(4):552-562.
  • Keller C, Coe K, Records K, Ainsworth B, López SV & Nagle Williams A.  Promotoras’ roles in integrative validity and treatment fidelity efforts in randomized controlled trials. Family and Community Health. 2012;35(2):120-129.  doi: 10.1097/FCH.0b013e31824650a6

Research Activity

Current/Recent Grants and Projects

  • Effect of cactus pad (Opuntia spp.) intake on cardiometabolic disease risk factors in moderately hypercholesterolemic adults.  August 2012 - present (Principal Investigator)
  • Culturally competent behavioral intervention for diabetes risk reduction.  Funded by the National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, 04/2014-present (Co-investigator and ASU Principal Investigator)
  • Athletes for Life - Adult Nutrition Program.  07/2014-present


Fall 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
NTR 450Nutrition in the Life Cycle
NTR 499Individualized Instruction
Summer 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
NTR 692Research
NTR 792Research
Spring 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
NTR 499Individualized Instruction
EXW 692Research
EXW 792Research
EXW 799Dissertation
Fall 2017
Course NumberCourse Title
NTR 450Nutrition in the Life Cycle
NTR 499Individualized Instruction
NTR 550Adv Nutrition Life Cycle
Summer 2017
Course NumberCourse Title
NTR 450Nutrition in the Life Cycle
NTR 550Adv Nutrition Life Cycle
Spring 2017
Course NumberCourse Title
NTR 499Individualized Instruction
Summer 2016
Course NumberCourse Title
NTR 450Nutrition in the Life Cycle
Spring 2016
Course NumberCourse Title
NTR 553Nutrition and CVD
Summer 2015
Course NumberCourse Title
NTR 450Nutrition in the Life Cycle
Spring 2015
Course NumberCourse Title
NTR 450Nutrition in the Life Cycle
NTR 550Adv Nutrition Life Cycle
Fall 2014
Course NumberCourse Title
NTR 241Human Nutrition
Spring 2014
Course NumberCourse Title
NTR 241Human Nutrition


  • 2017-2019 - Investigador Nacional Nivel II, Sistema Nacional de Investigadores, Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnolog�a (CONACYT), M�xico [National Resarcher Level II, National Researchers Registry, CONACYT, Mexico]
  • 2016 - Dannon Institute's Academic Mid-Career Nutrition Leadership Institute
  • 2014 - Participant, Fourteendth Annual Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR)/National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) Summer Institute on Randomized Behavioral Clinical Trials
  • 2013-2014 - Participant, 2013 Cohort; NIH/NHLBI R25 "PRIDE" (Programs to Increase Diversity among Individuals Engaged in Health-Related Research) Summer Institute on Mentoring Researchers in Latino Health Disparities (Elder & Talavera, PIs), San Diego State University, San Diego, CA
  • 2012 - Fellow of the American Heart Association and the Council on Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism
  • 2011-2012 - Early Career Faculty Research Fellowship, Southwest Interdisciplinary Research Center
  • 2007 - Dannon Institute's Nutrition Leadership Institute