eagle-i University of Hawai'i ManoaUniversity of Hawai'i Manoa
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Novotny Lab


Dr. Novotny's research focus is in ethnic differences in diet, physical activity and body size and composition, especially patterns of growth and development, using anthropometry and DXA. She and colleagues have shown that Asian adolescent girls carry more trunk to peripheral DXA body fat than white girls, and that birth weight and birth length are inversely related to this relationship. They have also developed a novel measure of breast density, using DXA, which they are examining in girls and their mothers; and they are building a breast cancer risk model for Pacific Islanders that will expand the Gail model with novel risk factors. She was recently awarded a multi-million dollar multi-institutional grant to prevent child obesity throughout the Pacific Region.




Human Studies

  • Adequate calcium today: improving bone health through a targeted behavioral intervention ( Interventional study )

    This targeted behavioral intervention is designed to improve calcium intake and bone health among Asian, Caucasian, and white Hispanic adolescents, likely reducing their risk for osteoporosis later in life. Behavioral interventions that will increase calcium intake and bone health in adolescents have not been established. Further, the influence of lactose maldigestion on calcium intakes in adolescents is not well characterized in Hispanic and Asian adolescents. Also, bone development has not been characterized in Hispanic and Asian adolescents. The results of the targeted behavioral intervention will form the basis for educational programs that will be used with youth in schools and health care settings.

    To develop a calcium food frequency tool that measures intake among Asian, Caucasion and Hispanic adolescents.
    To identify adolescent motivators and barriers to consumption of calcium-rich foods.
    To identify variation in motivators, barriers and calcium intake by age, ethnicity and gender.

  • Assessing breast density in young girls using DXA: a feasability study ( Observational study )

    A DXA machine is used to measure the breast density of women and adolescent girls in order to determine their risk for breast cancer.

  • Female adolescent maturation ( Observational study )

    Primary prevention of osteoporosis requires building as much bone as possible during the adolescent period of rapid growth. Delaying menarche (and the increased estrogen exposure associated with bone mass development) may reduce breast cancer. Prevention of these two chronic diseases may be in opposition, estrogen being “good” for bone but “bad” for breast cancer. Our objective is to identify modifiable factors in diet and physical activity that simultaneously result in high levels of bone mass development and delayed estrogen exposure associated with menarche, and the timing of influence of those factors. This study will be among the first to describe maturation of Asian adolescent girls. The study will contribute to the prevention of cancer and osteoporosis by identifying the timing and relative contribution of dietary, physical activity, body size factors to female adolescent maturation and bone growth.

  • Healthy Living in the Pacific Islands Initiative ( Observational study )

    The goal of the HLPI initiative is to reduce the disparity in prevalence of chronic diseases by respecting cultural values using community based, holistic, collaborative, sustainable approaches in Pacific Island communities.

    A healthy lifestyle impacts many parts of our environment:

    * Local food production and consumption: Helps keep money within the local economy, and reduces the need for imported food

    * Traditional practices: Many traditional food production techniques and lifestyles were more sustainable and healthier.

    * Decreased health costs: A healthy population doesn't require so many expensive health services. This frees up money for other important areas such as education.

    * Healthier environment: Many of the actions we take to become healthier ourselves can lead to a healthier island environment. Local food doesn't generate so much trash. Walking saves gas and reduces air pollution.

  • Healthy Pacific Child Program ( Observational study )


    * Design & test a dietary assessment instrument to be used to target & evaluate diets & nutrition related intervention programs for children in the Pacific (PacTrac).
    * Develop & test healthy foods intervention program centered on food stores & local food systems to improve production, preparation, sales & consumption of healthy foods by Pacific Island children and their families (Healthy Foods Hawaii).

  • Pacific Kids DASH for Health (PacDASH) ( Interventional study )

    Childhood offers an opportunity to develop and support health-promoting behaviors. Pacific Kids DASH for Health (PacDASH) is an intervention that targets child food and physical activity (PA) behaviors and utilizes support from the physician and health care system.Targeted food behavioral messages will extend and apply the nationally recommended DASH eating pattern, originally developed for White, African American, and Hispanic adults, to children and to the growing population of Asians and Pacific Islanders. Use of culturally-preferred foods and recipes will also be incorporated. Targeted PA behaviors will encourage national PA guidelines. Social and environmental cues important to making healthy food and physical activity choices, will guide development of the intervention to support steps to behavior change. Further assessments conducted at study visits include: demographics, diet and PA assessment, body size and composition measures, and blood pressure. Our study population of interest includes children ages 5 – 8, who are overweight and obese (>85th – 98th BMI percentile for age) and are scheduled for a ‘well-child’ visit at the Kaiser Permanente(KP) Clinics. We plan to develop and evaluate the effectiveness of this 15-month tailored intervention initially as a brief pilot study and then as a full intervention. Funded by the United States Department of Agriculture, National Research Initiative-Human Nutrition and Obesity competitive grants program.


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Last updated: 2013-06-14T10:36:28.999-05:00

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The eagle-i Consortium is supported by NIH Grant #5U24RR029825-02 / Copyright 2016