Shreela V. Sharma, PhD, RD, LD

Photo of Shreela V. Sharma

Associate Professor, Epidemiology, Human Genetics & Environmental Sciences
Co-Director, Dietetic Internship Program
shreela.v.sharma@uth.tmc.edu

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

Measures of Physical Activity and Body Mass Index in Hospital Workers: A Multisite Cross-Sectional Study.

(John, J., Swartz, M. D., Hoelscher, D., Huber, C., & Sharma, S. (2019). Journal of occupational and environmental medicine.)

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 Nutrition Dietetics. 2019; 119(2):199-201.)

Maternal Lactase Polymorphism Is Associated with Neural Tube Defects in Offspring in the National Birth Defects Prevention Study.

(Hoang, Thanh T., Yunping Lei, Laura E. Mitchell, Shreela V. Sharma, Michael D. Swartz, D. Kim Waller, Richard H. Finnell et al. The Journal of nutrition 149, no. 2 (2019): 295-303.)

Interventions targeting diet quality of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants: A scoping review

Verghese, Anila, Margaret Raber, and Shreela Sharma. Preventive medicine (2018).

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)

Recent News

Who should use artificial sweeteners, which ones are best?

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Shreela Sharma, associate professor of epidemiology and nutrition specialist at UTHealth School of Public Health, analyzed these artificial sweeteners to determine who should use which.

Food Pouches Lack Nutritional Value Compared to Whole Foods

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Shreela Sharma, PhD, RD, was interviewed on FOX 26 News for a segment about the nutritional value of food pouches.

Do's and don't's for microwaving food

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A study published in the Journal of Food Science cooked 20 different vegetables, finding that microwaving and baking preserved nutrients better than boiling. Proving you can use your microwave to defrost, cook and make nutritious foods. Shreela Sharma, dietitian at UT Health School of Public Health, says there are just a few rules to doing it safely.

2019’s Fattest Cities in America

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Americans are the fattest people in the world, not just stereotypically but statistically too. In fact, almost 40% of the U.S. population aged 15 and older is obese.

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.