Diana Grigsby-Toussaint

Diana Grigsby-Toussaint




Assistant Professor
University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign

Professional Bio

Diana S. Grigsby-Toussaint, Ph.D., M.P.H., is an assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Community Health and the Division of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. A major focus of her work involves exploring theoretical and practical considerations in the conduct of epidemiologic studies related to diabetes, obesity and related co-morbidities among youth and vulnerable populations. Grigsby-Toussaint holds Masters and Doctoral Degrees in International Health and Maternal and Child Health Epidemiology.

Project Description

Food marketing and advertising may be important determinants of childhood obesity. However, empirical attention has focused on television as a vehicle of marketing to children in the home, with limited attention to the broader nutrition environment in which families are embedded. This study will address this gap in the literature by evaluating food marketing targeted to young children in community retail food stores.

Specific research questions include: (1) Are there differences in how food is marketed to young children in the retail food store environment based on neighborhood socioeconomic position? (2) Is there an association between neighborhood levels of food marketing and childhood obesity? (3) Can interventions and public health policy for food marketing in retail food stores be informed by the perceptions of family, store owners and public health decision makers in communities? This study will employ a cross-sectional mixed method approach using spatial mapping, surveys of food stores and semi-structured interviews.

My New Connections Experience

I was motivated to apply for the New Connections funding as I envisioned an opportunity to network with other junior investigators with similar research interests. I anticipate that these connections will be valuable for future collaborations and intellectual discourse as I work towards addressing risk factors associated with obesity and related co-morbidities in youth and vulnerable populations.
As a grantee of both New Connections and healthy eating research, I have been truly amazed by the efforts of the programs to support the research agenda of junior investigators. In addition to financially supporting our research, the New Connections and healthy eating program staff are genuinely interested in mentoring us as we mature as researchers.

Research Interests

Obesity; diabetes; food environments and dietary behaviors; social determinants of health.
The Details
  • New Connections Status: Junior Investigator
  • Award Year: 2009, Healthy Eating Research
  • RWJF Team/Portfolio: Childhood Obesity
  • Project Name:¬†Examining Food Promotion and Marketing Targeted to Children in the Retail Food Store Environment.

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