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Theresa NicklasTheresa A. Nicklas, DrPH

Professor of Pediatrics
Baylor College of Medicine



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: 1) environmental factors influencing the development of eating patterns early in childhood; 2) how these eating patterns relate to the onset of obesity, cardiovascular disease, cancer and type 2 diabetes; and 3) 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 fruit, juice, and vegetable consumption by 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.

In order to investigate the development of children's food preferences and potential links to later eating behaviors, my team has developed a valid and reliable computerized food preference measure for use with African- and Hispanic-American preschool children.


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

"" Preschooler Food Preference Assessement Tool (English)
"" Preschooler Food Preference Assessement Tool (Spanish)

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:

Editor: Pennington J, Authors: Kandiah J, Nicklas T, Pitman S, Stitzel K. Practice Paper of the American Dietetic Association: Nutrient Density: Meeting Nutrient Goals within Calorie Needs. J Am Diet Assoc. 2007; 107(5):860-869.

Hughes SO, Patrick, H, Power TG, Fisher JO, Anderson CB, Nicklas TA. The Impact of Child-care Providers’ Feeding on Children’s Food Consumption. J Dev Behav Pediatr. 2007; 28(2):100-107.

Baranowski T, Watson K, Missaghian M, Broadfoot A, Baranowski J, Cullen K, Nicklas T, Fisher J, O’Donnell S. Parent Outcome Expectancies for Purchasing Fruit and Vegetables: A Validation. Public Health Nutr. 2007; 10(3):280-291.

Deshmukh-Taskar P, Nicklas TA, Yang S-J, Berenson G. Does Food Group Consumption Vary by Differences in Socioeconomic, Demographic and Lifestyle Factors in Young Adults? The Bogalusa Heart Study. J Am Diet Assoc. 2007; 107(2):223-234.

Killion L, Wendt J, Hughes SO, Wendt JC, Pease D, Nicklas TA. Minority Mothers’ Perceptions of Children’s Body Size. Int J Pediatr Obes. 2006; 1(2):96-102.

Brooks BM, Ranganathan R, Nicklas TA, Yang S-J, Berenson GS. Association of Calcium Intake, Dairy Product Consumption with Overweight Status in Young Adults (1995-1996): The Bogalusa Heart Study. J Am Coll Nutr. 2006; 25(6):523-532.

Jaramillo SJ, Yang SJ, Hughes SO, Fisher JO, Morales M, Nicklas TA. Interactive Computerized Fruit and Vegetable Preference Measure for African-American and Hispanic Preschoolers. J Nutr Educ Behav. 2006; 38(6):352-359.

Baranowski T, Missaghian M, Broadfoot A, Watson K, Cullen K, Nicklas T, Fisher J, Baranowski J, O’Donnell S. Fruit and Vegetable Shopping Practices and Social Support Scales: A Validation. J Nutr Educ Behav. 2006; 38:340-351.

Britten P, Lyon J, Weaver C, Kris-Etherton P, Nicklas T, Weber J, Davis C. MyPyramid Food Intake Pattern Modeling for the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. J Nutr Educ Behav. 2006; 38:S143-S152.

O’Connor TM, Yang S-J, Nicklas TA. Beverage Intake among Preschool Children and Its Effect on Weight Status. Pediatrics. 2006; 118(4):1010-1018.

Weaver CL, Lupton J, King J, Go VLW, Nicklas T, Pi-Sunyer FX, Clydesdale F, Kris-Etherton PM. LETTERS TO THE EDITOR. Dietary Guidelines vs. Beverage Guidance System. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006; 84(5):1245-1246.

Hughes SO, Anderson CB, Power TG, Micheli N, Jaramillo S, Nicklas TA. Measuring Feeding in Low-Income African-American and Hispanic Parents. Appetite. 2006; 46(2):215-223.

Bachman, CM, Baranowski T, Nicklas TA. Is there an Association between Sweetened Beverages and Adiposity? Nutr Reviews. 2006; 64(4):153-174.

Yoo S, Baranowski T, Missaghian M, Baranowski J, Cullen K, Fisher JO, Watson K, Zakeri IF, Nicklas T. Food-Purchasing Patterns for Home: A Grocery Store-Intercept Survey. Public Health Nutr. 2006; 9(3):384-393.

Deshmukh-Taskar P, Nicklas TA, Morales M, Yang SJ, Zakeri I, Berenson GS. Tracking of overweight status from childhood to young adulthood: the Bogalusa Heart Study. Eur J Clin Nutr. 60(1):48-57, 2006.

Cullen KW, Thompson VJ, Watson K, Nicklas T. Marketing Fruit and Vegetables to Middle School Students: Formative Assessment Results. J Child Nutr Manage. 2005; 29(2):1-10.

Ranganathan R, Nicklas TA, Pownall HJ, Berenson GS. Cardiovascular Diseases—A Major Health Risk in Asian Indians. Nutr Res. 2005; 25(6):515-533.

Weaver C, Nicklas T, Britten P. The 2005 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Report: Achieving Nutritional Recommendations through Food Pattern Modeling. Nutr Today. 2005; 40(4):102-107.

Nicklas TA, Weaver C, Britten P, Stitzel KF. The 2005 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee: developing a key message. J Am Diet Assoc. 105(9):1418-1424, 2005.

Ranganathan R, Nicklas TA, Yang SJ, Berenson GS. The nutritional impact of dairy product consumption on dietary intakes of adults (1995-1996): the Bogalusa Heart Study. J Am Diet Assoc. 105(9):1391-1400, 2005.

Anderson CB, Hughes SO, Fisher JO, Nicklas TA. Cross-cultural equivalence of feeding beliefs and practices: the psychometric properties of the child feeding questionnaire among Blacks and Hispanics. Prev Med. 41(2):521-531, 2005.

Jago R, Nicklas T, Yang SJ, Baranowski T, Zakeri I, Berenson GS. Physical activity and health enhancing dietary behaviors in young adults: Bogalusa Heart Study. Prev Med. 41(1):194-202, 2005.

Patrick H, Nicklas TA, Hughes SO, Morales M. The benefits of authoritative feeding style: caregiver feeding styles and children's food consumption patterns. Appetite. 44(2):243-249, 2005.

Patrick H, Nicklas TA. A review of family and social determinants of children's eating patterns and diet quality. J Am Coll Nutr. 24(2):83-92, 2005.

Hughes SO, Power TG, Orlet Fisher J, Mueller S, Nicklas TA. Revisiting a neglected construct: parenting styles in a child-feeding context. Appetite. 44(1):83-92, 2005.

Rajeshwari R, Yang SJ, Nicklas TA, Berenson GS. Secular trends in children's sweetened-beverage consumption (1973 to 1994): the Bogalusa Heart Study. J Am Diet Assoc. 105(2):208-214, 2005.

Jago R, Baranowski T, Watson K, Baranowski JC, Nicklas T, Zakeri IF. Relationships between maternal and child cardiovascular risk factors: ethnic differences and lack of influence of physical activity. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 158(12):1125-1131, 2004.

Demory-Luce D, Morales M, Nicklas T, Baranowski T, Zakeri I, Berenson G. Changes in food group consumption patterns from childhood to young adulthood: the Bogalusa Heart Study. J Am Diet Assoc. 104(11):1684-1691, 2004.

Yoo S, Nicklas T, Baranowski T, Zakeri IF, Yang SJ, Srinivasan SR, Berenson GS. Comparison of dietary intakes associated with metabolic syndrome risk factors in young adults: the Bogalusa Heart Study. Am J Clin Nutr. 80(4):841-848, 2004.

Nicklas T. Assessing diet quality in children and adolescents. J Am Diet Assoc. 104(9):1383-1384, 2004.

Rajeshwari R, Nicklas TA, Yang SJ, Berenson GS. Longitudinal changes in intake and food sources of calcium from childhood to young adulthood: the bogalusa heart study. J Am Coll Nutr. 23(4):341-350, 2004.

Nicklas TA, Demory-Luce D, Yang SJ, Baranowski T, Zakeri I, Berenson G. Children's food consumption patterns have changed over two decades (1973-1994): The Bogalusa heart study. J Am Diet Assoc. 104(7):1127-1140, 2004.

Nicklas TA, Morales M, Linares A, Yang SJ, Baranowski T, De Moor C, Berenson G. Children's meal patterns have changed over a 21-year period: the Bogalusa Heart Study. J Am Diet Assoc. 104(5):753-761, 2004.

Nicklas TA, Hampl JS, Taylor CA, Thompson VJ, Heird WC. Monounsaturated fatty acid intake by children and adults: temporal trends and demographic differences. Nutr Rev. 62(4):132-141, 2004.

Nicklas T, Johnson R; American Dietetic Association. Position of the American Dietetic Association: Dietary guidance for healthy children ages 2 to 11 years. J Am Diet Assoc. 104(4):660-677, 2004. Erratum in: J Am Diet Assoc. 104(7):1075, 2004.

Nicklas TA, O'Neil C, Myers L. The Importance of Breakfast Consumption to Nutrition of Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults. Nutr Today. 39(1):30-39, 2004.

Nicklas TA. Calcium intake trends and health consequences from childhood through adulthood. J Am Coll Nutr. 22(5):340-356, 2003.

Baranowski T, Cullen KW, Nicklas T, Thompson D, Baranowski J. Are current health behavioral change models helpful in guiding prevention of weight gain efforts? Obes Res. 11(Suppl):23S-43S, 2003.

Nicklas TA, Yang SJ, Baranowski T, Zakeri I, Berenson G. Eating patterns and obesity in children. The Bogalusa Heart Study. Am J Prev Med. 25(1):9-16, 2003.

De Moor C, Baranowski T, Cullen KW, Nicklas T. Misclassification associated with measurement error in the assessment of dietary intake. Public Health Nutr. 6(4):393-399, 2003.

Thompson VJ, Baranowski T, Cullen KW, Rittenberry L, Baranowski J, Taylor WC, Nicklas T. Influences on diet and physical activity among middle-class African American 8-to 10-year-old girls at risk of becoming obese. J Nutr Educ Behav. 35(3):115-123, 2003.

Nicklas TA, Dwyer J, Feldman HA, Luepker RV, Kelder SH, Nader PR. Serum cholesterol levels in children are associated with dietary fat and fatty acid intake. J Am Diet Assoc. 2002;102:511-517.