Rosenda Murillo

In Funded Scholars



Assistant Professor
University of Houston

Professional Bio

Dr. Rosenda Murillo is an Assistant Professor of Health Disparities at the University of Houston in the Department of Psychological, Health, and Learning Sciences. Dr. Murillo received a BS in Chemistry from Texas Woman’s University, a MPH in Community Health from the University of North Texas Health Science Center, and a PhD in Health Behavior from Indiana University. She also completed a postdoctoral research fellowship in cardiovascular epidemiology at Northwestern University in the Feinberg School of Medicine. Her research interests include: examining the role of psychosocial and cultural factors in physical activity patterns; and understanding how behavioral and psychosocial correlates contribute to disparities in cardiovascular disease risk in underserved populations, particularly among Latinos. Her research interests also include examining the effect of neighborhood environment on health in Latinos.

Project Description

This project is focused on examining the role of built and social environment in Latino health. Specifically, this study will examine the association of built environment with obesity, and the role of physical activity and social cohesion in this association, as well as whether the relative contribution of this behavioral pathway linking built environment and obesity varies among Latino adults.

Why did you apply to New Connections

I applied to New Connections to expand my research agenda to examine the role of neighborhood factors in the health of Latinos while continuing my work on examining factors that contribute to physical activity and cardiovascular disease risk among Latinos. In addition to the opportunity to engage in health disparities research, I was also excited about the opportunity to connect with other junior investigators who are also passionate about health disparities research.

Research Interests

  • Health disparities
  • Physical activity
  • Cardiovascular disease risk and prevention
  • Latino health


Hernandez, D.C., Reesor, L., Murillo, R. (2017). Gender disparities in the food insecurity-overweight and food insecurity–obesity paradox among low-income older adults. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 117(7), 1087-1096.

Hernandez, D.C., Reesor, L.M., Murillo, R. (2017). Food insecurity and adult overweight/obesity: gender and race/ethnic disparities. Appetite, 117(1), 373-378.

Laddu, D.R., Rana, J.S., Murillo, R., Sorel, M.E., Quesenberry, C.P., Allen, N.B., Pettee Gabriel, K., Carnethon, M.R., Liu, K., Reis, J.P., Lloyd-Jones, D., Carr, J., Sidney, S. (in press). 25-year physical activity trajectories and development of subclinical coronary artery disease as measured by coronary artery calcium: The CARDIA study. Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

Marquez, B., Murillo, R. (2017). Racial/ethnic differences in weight loss strategies among U.S. adults: NHANES 2007-2012. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 117(6), 923-928.

Murillo, R., Albrecht, S., Daviglus, M.L., Kershaw, K.N. (2015). The role of physical activity and sedentary behaviors in explaining the association between acculturation and obesity among Mexican-American adults. American Journal of Health Promotion, 30(1), 50-57.
Murillo, R., Ali, S., Carmack, C., Doss, D. (2016). Activity and weight misperception among overweight and obese US adults. American Journal of Health Behavior, 40(1),12-20.

Murillo, R., Echeverria, S., Vasquez, E. (2016). Differences in neighborhood social cohesion and aerobic physical activity by Latino subgroup. SSM-Population Health, 2, 536-541.

Murillo, R., Huber, L., Middlestadt, S.E., Seo, D.C. (2017). The association of psychosocial factors with leisure-time physical activity intention among Latinas. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 39(3), 381-388.

Murillo, R., Lambiase, M.J., Rockette-Wagner, B.J., Kriska, A.M., Haibach, J.P., Thurston, R.C. (2017). Racial/ethnic differences in the associations between physical activity and sleep duration: A population-based study. Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 14(2), 138-144.
Murillo, R., Reesor, L., Scott, C., & Hernandez, D. C. (2017). Food insecurity and pre-diabetes among adults: gender and race/ethnic differences. American Journal of Health Behavior. 41(4), 428-436.

Murillo, R., Reid, K.J., Arredondo, E.M., Cai, J., Gellman, M.C., Gotman, N.M., Marquez, D.X., Penedo, F.J., Ramos, A.R., Zee, P.C., Daviglus, M.L. (2016). Association of self-reported physical activity with obstructive sleep apnea: Results from the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL). Preventive Medicine, 93, 183-188.

Shay, C.M., Gooding, H.S., Murillo, R., Foraker, R. (2015). Understanding and improving cardiovascular health: An update on the American Heart Association’s concept of cardiovascular health. Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases, 58(1), 41-49.

Stimpson, J.P., Wilson, F.A., Murillo, R., Pagan, J.A. (2012). Persistent disparities in cholesterol screening among immigrants to the United States. International Journal for Equity in Health, 11, 1-4.

Vasquez, E., Strizich, G., Gallo, L., Marshall, S.J., Merchant, G.C., Murillo, R., Penedo, F.J., Salazar, C., Sotres-Alvarez, D., Shaw, B.A., Isasi, C.R. (2016). The role of stress in understanding differences in sedentary behavior in Hispanic/Latino adults: results from the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos Socio-cultural Ancillary Study. Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 13, 310-317.

The Details
  • New Connections Status: Junior Investigator
  • Award Year: 2018
  • RWJF Team/Portfolio: Creating Healthier, More Equitable Communities
  • Project Name: Examining the impact of the built environment on physical activity and obesity in Latino communities and potential moderators and mediators

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