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Children's Nutrition Research Center - Faculty

Houston, Texas

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Children's Nutrition Research Center - Faculty
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Theresa A. Nicklas, DrPH

Theresa A. Nicklas, Ph.D.Professor of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine


Curriculum vitae (download .pdf)

Research Interests

Epidemiologic and Behavioral Approaches to Healthier Lifestyles

My research interests encompass both the epidemiological and intervention aspects of chronic disease prevention and health promotion. Specifically, how do eating behaviors and other lifestyles influence the development of chronic disease risk factors early in life? Also, what are the behavioral factors influencing the development of adverse lifestyles early in life? Before we can effectively intervene to prevent chronic disease risk, we first need to understand the factors that mediate one's risk. Areas of interest include:

  • Environmental factors influencing the development of eating patterns early in childhood
  • How these eating patterns relate to the onset of obesity, cardiovascular disease, cancer and type 2 diabetes
  • Effective intervention strategies for changing and maintaining healthful behavior changes, particularly in children and adolescents

A current area of research involves a detailed investigation of the relationship between eating patterns and obesity in children and young adults. Planned studies include an examination of family and caregiver influence on eating patterns of preschool children from different ethnic groups; a family-based intervention program for prevention of obesity; and a longitudinal study investigating factors that influence the development of eating patterns early in childhood, and determining whether these eating patterns track into adulthood or are predictive of obesity between childhood and adulthood. Dr. Nicklas has published more than 250 scientific papers, 6 book chapters and 5 monographs. She is author of the American Dietetic Association position paper on Dietary Guidance for Healthy Children Ages 2-11 years and she served on the 2005 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. Her areas of expertise are cardiovascular health and nutritional epidemiology, child nutrition, and health promotion and chronic disease prevention.

Download food preference assessment tool for preschool children below. (Links are to .exe programs, which should be downloaded to a PC for viewing -- requires FLASH):

Vegetable and Fruit commercials©

Reggie VeggieTM Judy FruityTM
Reggie Veggie video (Eng.) Judy Fruity video (Eng.)
Reggie Veggie video (Sp.) Judy Fruity video (Sp.)

Images and video files are copyrighted by Baylor College of Medicine. For use other than viewing please contact Theresa A. Nicklas, DrPH.

Acknowledgements: YMS Consulting and the Character Lab, Arcadia, CA; E-Smart Choice, LaCanada, CA; Archimage, Houston, TX

Representative Publications

Wroten KC, O’Neil CE, Stuff JE, Liu Y, Nicklas TA. Resemblance of Dietary Snacks, Sweets, Fruits, and Vegetables Among Mother-child Dyads from Low-Income Families. Appetite. 2012;59(2):316-323

Tuan N, Butte N, Nicklas TA. Body Mass Index distributions affect discrepancies in weight classifications in children. Pediatrics International. 2012;54(2):256-265

O’Neil CE, Deshmukh-Taskar P, Mendoza JA, Nicklas TA, Liu Y, Relyea G, Berenson GS. Dietary, Lifestyle, and Health Correlates of Overweight and Obesity in Adults 19 to 39 years of age: The Bogalusa Heart Study. Am J Lifestyle Med. 2012; 6(4):346-357

Beltran A, O’Connor T, Hughes SO, Baranowski J, Nicklas TA, Thompson D, Baranowski T. Alpha Test of a Video Game to Train Parents in Effective Vegetable Parenting. Games for Health Journal. 2012;1(3):219-222.

Clemens R, Kranz S, Mobley AR, Nicklas TA, Raimondi MP, Rodriguez JC, Slavin JL, Warshaw H. Filling America’s Fiber Intake Gap: Summary of a Roundtable to Probe Realistic Solutions with a Focus on Grain-Based Foods. The Journal of Nutrition. 2012; 142(7): 1390S-1401S.

Aggett PJ, Hathcock J, Jukes D, Richardson DP, Calder PC, Bischoff-Ferrari H, Nicklas TA, Muhlebach S, Kwon O, Lewis J, Lugard MJF, Prock P. Nutrition issues in Codex: health claims, nutrient reference values and WTO agreements: a conference report. Eur J Nutr. 2012; 51(Suppl 1): S1-S7

Mendoza JA, Nicklas TA, Liu Y, Stuff JE, Baranowski T. General versus Central Adiposity and relationship to Pediatric Metabolic Risk. Metab Syndrome Relat Disord. 2012;10(2):128-136

O’Neil CE, Keast DR, Nicklas TA, Fulgoni VLIII. Out-of-hand nut consumption is associated with improved nutrient intake and health risk markers in US children and adults: NHANES 1999-2004, Nutrition Research. 2012;32:185-194.

Sleddens EF, Hughes SO, O’Connor TM, Beltram A, Baranowski JC, Nicklas TA, Baranowski T. The Children's Behavior Questionnaire very short scale: Psychometric properties and development of a one-item temperment scale Psychol Rep, 2012;110(1): 1-21.

Mendoza JA, Watson K, Chen T, Baranowski T, Nicklas TA, Uscanga DK, Hanfling MJ. Impact of a Pilot Walking School Bus Intervention on Children’s Pedestrian Safety Behaviors. Health & Place. 2012; 18:24-30.

Nicklas TA, O'Neil CE, Zanovec M, Keast DR, Fulgoni III VL. Contribution of beef consumption to nutrient intake, diet quality, and food patterns in the diets of the US population. Meat Science. 2012; 90(1):152-158

O’Neil CE, Zanovec M, Nicklas TA, Cho SS. Presweetened and Non-presweetened Ready-to-Eat Cereals at Breakfast are Associated with Improved Nutrient Intake but Not with Increased Body Weight of Children and Adolescents-NHANES 1999-2002.” Am J Lifestyle Medicine. 2012; 6(1):66-71.

O’Neil CE, Nicklas TA, Rampersaud GC, Fulgoni VL. 100% Orange Juice Consumption is Associated with Better Diet Quality, Improved Nutrient Adequacy, and No Increased Risk for Overweight/Obesity in Children. Nutrition Research. 2011; 31:673-682.

Nicklas TA, Karmally W, O’Neil CE. Ethics Opinion: Ethics in Action: Nutrition Professionals are Obligated to Follow Ethical Principles when Conducting Industry-Funded Research. J Am Diet Assoc. 2011;111:1931-2.

Nicklas TA, O’Neil CE, Liska DJ, Almedia NJ, Fulgoni VL 3rd. Modeling Dietary Fiber Intakes in US Adults in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2003-2006. Food and Nutrition Sciences. 2011; 2:925-931.

O’Neil CE, Keast DR, Nicklas TA, Fulgoni III VL. Nut consumption is associated with decreased health risk factors for cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome in US adults: NHANES 1999-2004. J Am Coll Nutr. 2011;30(6):502-510.

O’Neil CE, Zanovec M, Nicklas TA. A Review of Food Allergy and Nutritional Considerations in the Food-Allergic Adult. Am J Lifestyle Med. 2011;5:49-62.

Nicklas TA, Goh ET, Goodell LS, Acuff DS, Reiher R, Buday R, Ottenbacher A. Impact of commercials on food preferences of low-income, minority preschoolers. J Nutr Educ Behav. 2011;43(1):35-41.

O’Neil CE, Zanovec MT, Keast DR, Fulgoni VL, Nicklas TA. Nutrient Contribution of Total and Lean Beef in Diets of US Children and Adolescents: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999-2004. Meat Sci. 2011;87(3):250-256.

O’Neil CE, Nicklas TA, Zanovec MT, Fulgoni VL. Diet Quality is Positively Associated with 100% Fruit Juice Consumption in Children and Adults in the United States: NHANES 2003-2006. Nutr J. 2011. 10(1):17.

O’Neil CE, Fulgoni VL, Nicklas TA. Candy Consumption was not Associated with Body Weight Measures, Risk Factors and Cardiovascular Disease, and Diet Quality in US Adults: NHANES 1999-2004. Nutr Res. 2011;31(2):122-130.

Zanovec MT, O’Neil CE, Nicklas TA. Comparison of Nutrient Density Cost between Cooked and Canned Beans. Food Nutr Sci. 2011:2;66-73.

Mendoza JA, Watson K, Nguyen N, Cerin E, Baranowski T, Nicklas T. Active Commuting to School and Association with Physical Activity and Adiposity among US Youth. J Phys Act Health. 2011;8(4):488-495.

Nicklas TA, O’Neil CE, Liu Y. Intake of added sugars is not associated with weight measures in children 6 to 18 years of age: NHANES 2003-2006. Nutr Res. 2011;31(5):338-346.

O’Neil CE, Fulgoni III, VL, and Nicklas TA. Association of candy consumption with body weight measures, other health risk factors for cardiovascular disease, and diet quality in US children and adolescents: NHANES 1999-2004. Food Nutr Res. 2011;55. doi: 10.3402/fnr.v55i0.5794

Hughes SO, Power TG, Papaioannou MA, Cross MB, Nicklas TA, Hall SK, Shewchuk RM. Emotional Climate, Feeding Practices, and Feeding Styles : An Observational Analysis of the Dinner Meal in Head Start Families. Inter J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2011;8(1):60.

Nicklas TA, Qu H, Hughes SO, He M, Wagner SE, Foushee HR, Shewchuk RM. Self-Perceived Lactose Intolerance Results in Lower Intakes of Calcium and Dairy Foods and is Associated with Selected Health Conditions in Adults. Am J Clin Nutr. 2011; 94 (1): 191-198.

Mendoza JA, Watson K, Chen T, Baranowski T, Nicklas TA, Uscanga DK, Hanfling MJ. Impact of a Pilot Walking School Bus Intervention on Children’s Pedestrian Safety Behaviors. Pediatrics. 2011; 128(3): pp. e537 -e544.

Zanovec M, O’Neil CE, Keast D, Fulgoni III VL, Nicklas TA. Lean beef contributes significant amounts of key nutrients to the diets of US adults: NHANES 1999-2004. Nutr Res. 2010; 30(6):375-381.

Deshmukh-Taskar PR, Nicklas TA, O’Neil CE, Keast DR, Radcliff JD, Cho S. The Relationship of breakfast skipping and type of breakfast consumption with nutrient intake and weight status in children and adolescents: NHANES 1999-2006. J Am Diet Assoc. 2010;110:869-878.

O’Connor T, Watson K, Hughes S, Beltran A, Hingle M, Baranowski J, Campbell K, Canal DJ, Lizaur ABP, Zacarias I, Gonzalez D, Nicklas T, Baranowski T. Health professionals' and dietetics practitioners' perceived effectiveness of fruit and vegetable parenting practices across six countries. J Am Diet Assoc. 2010;110(7):1065-1071.

Deshmukh-Taskar PR, Radcliffe JD, Liu Y, Nicklas TA. Do Breakfast Skipping and Breakfast Type Affect Energy Intake, Nutrient Intake, Nutrient Adequacy, and Diet Quality in Young Adults: NHANES 1999-2002. J Am Coll Nutr. 2010;29(4):407-418.

O’Neil CE. Zanovec M, Cho SS, Nicklas TA. Whole Grain and Fiber Consumption are associated with Lower Body Weight Measures in US Adults: NHANES 1999-2004. Nutr Res. 2010;30(12):815-822.

Vereecken CA, Vandervorst S, Nicklas TA, Covents M, Maes L. Test-retest Reliability and Comparison of Children’s Reports with Parents’ Reports of Young Children’s Fruit and Vegetable Preference. Appetite. 2010;55(3):574-581.

O’Connor TM, Hughes SO, Watson KB, Baranowski T, Nicklas TA, Fisher JO, Beltran A, Baranowski JC, Qu H, Shewchuk RM. Parenting Practices are Associated with Fruit and Vegetable Consumption in Pre-school Children. Public Health Nutr. 2010; 13(1):91-101.

O’Neil CE, Keast DR, Fulgoni VL, Nicklas TA. Tree Nut Consumption Improves Nutrient Intake, Diet Quality in U.S. Adults: An Analysis of National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 1999-2004. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2010; 19(1):142-150.

O’Neil CE, Nicklas TA, Kleinman R. Relationship between 100% Juice Consumption and Nutrient Intake and Weight of Adolescents. Am J Health Promot. 2010; 24(4):231-237.

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