PhD, Public Health, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health
MS, Nutritional Sciences, University of Hawaii at Manoa
BS, Food Science, Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina (Lima, Peru)
Pia Chaparro is a public health nutritionist with training and experience in domestic and international settings, with an overarching focus on addressing social inequities in nutritional outcomes. Her specific research interests include food insecurity, food and nutrition policy, the social and environmental determinants of obesity, the nutritional impact of participating in social programs, and the double burden of malnutrition in Latin America. Prior to joining Tulane, she was a postdoctoral fellow at the Centre for Health Equity Studies (Stockholm University & Karolinska Institutet) in Stockholm, Sweden, and at the Institute for Social and Economic Research (University of Essex) in the UK.
Summary of current research projects
1. Trends in food insecurity among children participating in WIC and WIC + SNAP in Los Angeles County
With funding from the Tufts University/University of Connecticut Research Innovation and Development Grants in Economics (RIDGE) Program, Dr. Chaparro is investigating trends in food insecurity between 2005 and 2017 among children who participate in the WIC program and those who concurrently participate in WIC and SNAP in Los Angeles County. Moreover, Dr. Chaparro is investigating if the relationship between food insecurity and child food consumption has changed over time, among WIC and WIC + SNAP participating children in Los Angeles County.
2. The association between participation in food assistance programs and obesity in Lima, Peru
In 2009, Dr. Chaparro conducted a qualitative study investigating perceptions of overweight/obesity and the role of food assistance programs in two low-income districts in Lima, Peru. Most food assistance program participants interviewed agreed that obesity was an important health problem but did not see a major government role in obesity prevention. A decade later, overweight/obesity in Peru has reached epidemic proportions, but the Peruvian government has done little to tackle obesity. With funding from the Tulane University Provost Office, this project will be a follow-up of the 2009 study in which in-depth interviews and focus groups with food assistance programs’ administrators and beneficiaries will be conducted, to revisit their perspectives on overweight/obesity as a public health problem, and the feasibility of incorporating prevention efforts into food assistance programming.
3. Evaluation of the use, and barriers for use, of community gardens in New Orleans, Louisiana
With funding from the Carol Lavin Bernick Faculty grants, this project will evaluate the use, and barriers for use, of community gardens among participants of the Healthy Neighborhoods Project (PI Katherine Theall), in New Orleans, Louisiana. This project will include mapping existing public community gardens in New Orleans as well as quantitative (via SMS) and qualitative (in-depth interviews and walking ethnographies) data collection among Healthy Neighborhoods Project’s participants.
Please view Dr. Chaparro's publications on her NCBI profile here.