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CSDE Seminar Series

Population Research Discovery Seminars

Better Understanding Diet & Cardio-Metabolic Health in American Indians

Mandy Fretts, Associate Professor, UW Department of Epidemiology


Moderated by:

Anjum Hajat, Assistant Professor, UW Department of Epidemiology


Register for Zoom Seminar HERE

12:30-1:30 PM PT

In the United States, there are gross ethic disparities in the prevalence of cardio-metabolic diseases and risk factors, and the burden of cardiovascular disease and diabetes in American Indian communities is particularly high. American Indians are 1.3 times more likely to have diagnosed heart disease and 2.5 times more likely to have diagnosed type 2 diabetes than non-Hispanic whites of similar age. During this presentation, Dr. Fretts will discuss some major findings from the Strong Heart Study—the largest and longest on-going cohort study of cardiovascular health among American Indians in the United States. She will also describe an on-going clinical trial that she is leading designed to test the effect of a cooking and nutrition intervention on diet quality and glycemic control in American Indian adults with type 2 diabetes who reside in a rural reservation community.

Dr. Mandy Fretts is an Associate Professor in the Department of Epidemiology. She is a cardiovascular epidemiologist with a focus on observational and interventional research aimed at improving cardio-metabolic health in underserved and rural communities. Her research interests include nutrition, physical activity, fatty acids, diabetes, and American Indian health. She is the Principal Investigator of the Dakotas field site for the Strong Heart Study, a large cohort study of cardiovascular disease and its risk factors in 12 rural American Indian communities in Arizona, Oklahoma, North Dakota and South Dakota, that has been on-going since 1988. She is also Principal Investigator of a community-based diet and cooking skills intervention (randomized trial) for American Indians with diabetes who reside on the Cheyenne River Sioux reservation. As an American Indian investigator (Mi’kmaq, Eel Ground First Nation), Dr. Fretts is committed to improve the cardio-metabolic health of American Indians, and to integrate observational and interventional research to mitigate obesity-related health disparities and improve health behaviors and health outcomes among American Indian people. In addition to her work with American Indian communities, Dr. Fretts is also actively involved in several on-going projects related to fatty acids, diet, diet*gene interactions, and cardiovascular outcomes in the Cardiovascular Health Study and the CHARGE (Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology).