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UT Professor Investigates Pregnancy and Obesity Outcomes

Samantha EhrlichSamantha Ehrlich, assistant professor in Department of Public Health at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville has received a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) to investigate the impact of physical activity on obesity in both mothers and children. 

Ehrlich was awarded more than $48,000 to work with a team of mentors, both nationally and locally. Assiamira Ferrara, senior research scientist and chief of the women and children’s health section at Kaiser Permanente’s Northern California Division of Research will serve as Ehrlich’s primary mentor. UT faculty members David Bassett, professor and head of the Department of Kinesiology, Recreation, and Sport Studies, and Hollie Raynor, associate dean of research and professor in the College of Health and Human Sciences, will also serve as mentors providing expertise on physical activity and nutrition and behavioral aspects of obesity prevention respectively.  

Ehrlich’s research focuses on the intersection between pregnancy and obesity and diabetes in women and their children. This grant will allow her to study the effects of physical activity during pregnancy on the health outcomes of mothers, as well as the impacts on infant body composition throughout the first year of age. She hopes this research will lead to a greater understanding of the potential causes of intergenerational obesity, and point toward strategies for prevention.