Research of Katie Loth
Katie Loth, PhD, MPH, RD, brings a background in research and clinical work to the promotion of healthy eating behaviors in a variety of populations, including children, adolescents, and families. An Assistant Professor at the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health since 2015, she is a core faculty member of the HEAL Center, which facilitates integration between research, clinical practice, community resources, and policy to improve healthy eating and activity across the lifespan.
As a Registered Dietitian, Dr. Loth cultivated an interest in preventive healthcare, specifically biological and social determinants of healthy eating. Throughout her doctoral and postdoctoral work, the focus of her research and clinical work in weight management, nutrition, and eating disorders shifted from obesity prevention and treatment to the promotion of healthy lifestyle behaviors. Specifically, she is interested in helping physicians and families prioritize making healthy lifestyle choices over pursuing weight loss.
In 2017, Dr. Loth received an NIH K Award to focus on parent behaviors that influence eating behaviors in preschool aged children. This study utilizes Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA) to explore the factors, such as stress or limited resources, that shape the ways parents interact with their children around food and nutrition. This novel methodology brings measurement to the nuances that shape real-life decisions and actions.
Dr. Loth is interested in helping physicians and families prioritize making healthy lifestyle choices over pursuing weight loss.
Dr. Loth is also currently working on a study that explores the impact role of receiving SNAP benefits on the known relationship between food insecurity and poor health outcomes. This project also relies on the use of EMA data to understand how the frequency of SNAP benefit distribution is associated with health outcomes- a question that could potentially lead to a re-shaping of the SNAP benefit system. She is also Co-Investigator on two current studies, Family Matters in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, and Project EAT in the School of Public Health. Both of these studies explore factors that influence eating behaviors and obesity among socioeconomically, racially, and ethnically diverse children.
Currently, Dr. Loth sees patients at Broadway Family Medicine Clinic, where she also trains family medicine residents and teaches didactics. She teaches in the Public Health Institute and is preparing to deliver a Grand Challenge course on integration of research and clinical practice for graduate and undergraduate students. She is also co-chair of the Epidemiology and Public Health Special Interest Group for the Academy for Eating Disorders. In this role, she is involved in public advocacy efforts, such as contributing to comments for the NIH Strategic Plan for Nutrition Research.