Studying diet and diabetes in China

“It isn’t just what food we are eating that’s changing, but also how we grow that food. We need to improve our understanding of non-nutrient food exposures–pesticides, herbicides, fungicides–that may be partially responsible for the obesity and diabetes epidemics seen around the world.”

Lindsay Jaacks conducted the first known study of diet and Type 1 diabetes in a developing country–China. When she moved there, the country was in the midst of an air pollution scare. She stayed inside as much as possible and wore a mask when she went out. The experience sparked an interest in studying environmental pollutants and how they interact with diet to affect health.

Jaacks, now a post-doc at Emory University, did the study in China as a doctoral student in nutritional epidemiology at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health and UNC School of Medicine.

A small award from UNC’s NC Translational and Clinical Sciences (NC TraCS) Institute funded five months in China collecting blood samples and dietary surveys. That led to a $150,000 grant from Sanofi that enabled Jaacks to finish gathering and analyzing data, and then publish results.

Read the complete Carolina Story from the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health…

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