Shreela V. Sharma, PhD, RD, LD

Photo of Shreela V. Sharma

Associate Professor, Epidemiology, Human Genetics & Environmental Sciences
Co-Director, Dietetic Internship Program

Dr. Sharma is a trained dietitian and physical therapist. As a health professional, she strongly felt she was treating preventable diseases stemming from poor lifestyles: heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension. She saw the repercussions were devastating the community. Her love for teaching, academics and the community led her to purse a PhD in public health, focusing on epidemiology. Her interest is in nutrition and physical activity-based interventions to address obesity via school, family, and the community, predominantly in low-income minority populations. She co-found Brighter Bites, a partner program of the Houston Food Bank, and serves on the Mayor of Houston’s Go Healthy Houston Task Force.

She is currently working on Healthy Eating Active Living (HE/AL). Dr. Sharma explains, “HE/AL is designed to promote healthy birth outcomes and prevent maternal and childhood obesity among low-income Medicaid patients. The project will use evidence-based strategies from Brighter Bites, Legacy of Health and The Happy Kitchen/La Cocina Alegre to promote breastfeeding and physical activity among pregnant women and women with infants. Families will receive free group education classes (nutrition, cooking, and exercise) and 30 lbs of fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables weekly for 12 weeks. We will be tracking the effect of the program on maternal weight gain during pregnancy, gestational diabetes, pregnancy induced hypertension, infant birth weight, breastfeeding, and infant weight gain in the first year of life.”

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Current Projects

Brighter Bites

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This project is a collaborative effort to impact eating behavior among predominantly low-income families by introducing them to a routine distribution of fresh produce and corresponding education, ultimately to curb the childhood obesity epidemic.

ENRICH (Encouraging Nurturing Responsiveness to Improve Child Health)

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ENRICH stands for Encouraging Nurturing Responsiveness to Improve Child Health. This research project works to help parents establish healthy eating, activity, bedtime, and screen time routines.

CATCH (Coordinated Approach To Child Health)

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CATCH is a research-based program designed to guide schools, families and children in healthy eating and physical activity.

HEAL (Healthy Eating Active Living)

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This project is a clinic-community based intervention to implement an early life-cycle approach to obesity prevention among pregnant women and women with infants from low-income families.

Recent Publications

The Nourish Program: An innovative model for cooking, gardening and clinical care skill enhancement for dietetics students

(McWhorter JW, Raber M, Sharma SV, Moore LS, Hoelscher DM; J Academy Nutr Dietetics; 2018)

Impact of the Coordinated Approach to Child Health Early Childhood Program for Obesity Prevention among Preschool Children: The Texas Childhood Obesity Research Demonstration Study

(Sharma SV, Vandewater E, Chuang RJ, Byrd-Williams C, Kelder S, Butte N, Hoelscher DM; Child Obes.; 2018)

Behavior modification of diet and parent feeding practices in a community vs. primary care-centered intervention for childhood obesity: TX CORD RCT

(Wilson TA, Liu Y, Adolph AL, Sacher PM, Barlow SE, Pont S, Sharma S, Byrd-Williams C, Hoelscher DM, Butte NF; J Nutr Educ Behav.; 2018)

Association between parent and child weight status among private school children in Delhi, India

(Greene-Cramer B, Harrell MB, Hoelscher DM, Sharma S, Ranjit N, Gupta V, Nazar G, Arora M; Glob Health Promot.; 2018)

Dietary intake, attitudes toward healthy food, and dental pain in low-income youth

(Nicksic NE, Massie AW, Byrd-Williams C, Kelder SH, Sharma SV, Butte NF, Hoelscher DM; JDR Clinical & Translational Research; 2018)

Recent News

Got Milk? The Benefits for Students and the Alternatives

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Shreela Sharma, PhD, RD, was interviewed on FOX 26 News for a back-to-school segment about the benefits of and alternatives to milk for children.

Health Conscious or Health Hazardous? A Dietitian Takes on Trendy Eating Plans For Kids

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Whether it's to lose weight, keep up with a social cause, or boost health, maintaining a strict diet is a fact of life for many adults. But what are the rules of engagement when it comes to your kids? Dr. Shreela Sharma, a registered dietician and associate professor at UTHealth School of Public Health, details common eating regimens that parents often contemplate extending to their children.

Thinking Outside the Carton

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Deciding what to give your children to eat and drink is a minefield these days, even when it comes to milk. Once almost universally regarded as a daily dietary staple packed with vitamins and minerals essential for good health, its relationship with consumers over the years has somewhat soured.

Are your snacks as healthy as you think?

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In a WSAV News 3 Today story, Shreela Sharma, Ph.D., R.D., discussed popular unhealthy snacks that could be hampering your weight loss efforts.

Food Addiction

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Chocolate, potato chips, French fries — many of us find it difficult to eat just a bite or two of a sweet or salty food. But at what point does eating unhealthy foods excessively actually become problematic?