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Shadow on Concrete Wall

Research Projects



Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose.


--Zora  Neale Hurston

Our Current Research Project
Obese conditions have reached epidemic proportions, with more than one-third of U.S. adults being classified as obese. This prevalence is alarming, as obesity has been identified as a significant risk factor for life-threatening conditions such as chronic kidney disease, type II diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease. Bariatric procedures have emerged as a potential treatment for obesity and have proven to significantly improve or resolve obesity-related conditions by producing significant excessive weight loss (EWL). Research has suggested that Africans Americans are not as successful in achieving EWL goals as compared to other ethnic groups. The reasons for the disparate outcomes are poorly understood.
Adaptive eating behavior patterns in bariatric patients are critical for successful EWL post-surgery. The impact of psychosocial and neurocognitive factors on eating behavior patterns in African-American bariatric patients may help explain variability within this group. To our knowledge, these relationships have not been examined in African-American bariatric patients over time. More research is necessary to determine differences in psychological factors (e.g., depression), social factors (e.g., education), and neurocognitive factors (e.g., impulsivity) and how they affect eating behavior patterns throughout the course of treatment in bariatric African-American patients.
Our study aims to: 
  • Identify cognitive functions that influence eating behavior patterns in African-American bariatric patients over time
  • Identify psychological mood states and personality characteristics that predict eating behavior patterns in African-American bariatric patients pre- and post-surgery
  • Develop psychosocial profiles that explain eating behavior patterns in African-American patients pre- and post-bariatric surgery.
African Americans face a unique set of challenges with regards to successful bariatric outcomes; therefore, we hope to provide information about factors, pre- and post-bariatric surgery, that impact outcomes in this group.
Graduate Student Research Projects:
  • Physical Activity Adherence in African-American women
  • Physical Activity, Executive Functioning, and Total Brain Volume in Older Adults
  • Physical Activity, Executive functioning, and Eating Behaviors in Older African Americans
  • Loneliness and Inflammation in African-American Adults
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