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Dec
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24

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Dec
25

USC Winter Break

Suzanne Domel Baxter, PhD, RD, LD, FADA

Making Change Happen

Dr. Suzanne Baxter wants to improve the accuracy of dietary research by “changing how researchers do their research.” A research professor in the Institute for Families in Society http://ifs.sc.edu/ at USC, Dr. Baxter focuses on methodological research concerning the accuracy of children's dietary recalls and on childhood obesity and nutrition. Created in the early 1990s, the Institute conducts interdisciplinary research to reduce child abuse, strengthen families and communities, and improve the health of vulnerable child and adult populations.

“Science progresses to the degree to which its instruments are precise,” Dr. Baxter said. “By looking at methods we use, we can change them to get more accurate information.” Some of Dr. Baxter’s recent studies explored the consistency of children’s accuracy in recalling what they’ve eaten and whether recall accuracy changes because of various factors, such as time of interview or how the questions are asked. For her, if researchers know the most accurate methodologies, they’ll have a more accurate understanding of child nutrition issues.

Dr. Baxter also seeks to make lasting change through the Amy Joye Memorial Research Fund, which gives research grants in fields such as obesity prevention, dietary assessment, and gardening. Dr. Baxter led the effort to create this fund established through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation in honor of her former nutrition research project director, who suffered a medical tragedy.

Research Background

Trained as a Registered Dietitian and a Post-Doctoral Fellow in Nutrition, Dr. Baxter conducts methodological research to investigate the accuracy of children's dietary recalls. Her research includes validation studies to compare observations of children eating school breakfast and school lunch to dietary intake reported by children during interviews, and then assesses children’s accuracy for recalling school-meal intake. By manipulating various aspects of the interview procedures, Dr. Baxter has identified methods that improve accuracy such as reporting-order prompts, interview modality, interview format, and retention interval. Different aspects of children's dietary recall accuracy have been investigated, including body mass index, social desirability, food security, and consistency of accuracy over multiple recalls. Dr. Baxter also conducts research concerning a possible relationship between childhood obesity and participation in school meals.

Research Projects

  • Baxter, S. D. (PI), Hitchcock, D. B. (Co-I), Wilson, D. K. (Co-I) (2010-2014). Children's Dietary Recalls: Prompts, Retention Interval, and Accuracy. (R01 HL103737 - National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute).
  • Baxter, S. D. (PI), Tebbs, J. M. (Co-I) (2009-2013). School Meals and BMI Percentile: Secondary Analyses of Non-Self-Report Data. (R21 HL096035 - National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute).
  • Baxter, S. D. (Co-PI), Pate, R. R. (Co-PI), Wilson, D. K. (Co-I), Hitchcock, D. B. (Co-I) (2009-2012). Integrated Recall of Diet and Physical Activity in Children. (R21 HL093406 - National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute).
  • Baxter, S. D. (PI), Tebbs, J. M. (Co-I) (2008-2012). Is Childhood Obesity Related to Participation in School Meals? (R21 HL088617 - National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute).
  • Baxter, S. D. (PI) (2003-2010). Children’s Dietary Recalls: Methodology and Accuracy. (R01 HL074358 - National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute).

 Selected Publications

  •  Paxton-Aiken, A. E. (co-first author), Baxter, S. D. (co-first author), Tebbs, J. .M, Finney, C. J., Guinn, C. H., Royer, J. A. (2012). How accurate are parental responses concerning their fourth-grade children's school-meal participation, and what is the relationship between children's body mass index and school-meal participation based on parental responses? International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 9:30.
  • Baxter, S. D., Royer, J. A., Hardin, J. W., Guinn, C. H., Devlin, C. M. (2011). The relationship of school absenteeism with body mass index, academic achievement, and socioeconomic status among fourth-grade children. Journal of School Health 81:417-423 (& corrigendum on 590).
  • Baxter, S. D., Hardin, J. W., Guinn, C. H., Royer, J. A., Mackelprang, A.J., Devlin, C. M. (2010). Children’s body mass index, participation in school meals, and observed energy intake at school meals. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 7:24.
  • Guinn, C. H., Baxter, S. D., Royer, J. A., Hardin, J. W., Mackelprang, A. J., Smith, A. F. (2010). Fourth-grade children’s dietary recall accuracy for energy intake at school meals differs by social desirability and body mass index percentile in a study concerning retention interval. Journal of Health Psychology 15:505-514.
  • Baxter, S. D., Hardin, J. W., Guinn, C. H., Royer, J. A., Mackelprang, A. J., Smith, A.F. (2009). Fourth-grade children’s dietary recall accuracy is influenced by retention interval (target period and interview time). Journal of the American Dietetic Association 109:846-856.
  • Baxter, S. D., Guinn, C. H., Hardin, J. W., Royer, J. A., Wilson, D. K. (2010). Methodological research concerning the accuracy of children’s dietary recalls. In Ellsworth SJ & Schuster RC (editors), Appetite and Nutritional Assessment. New York: Nova Science Publishers, Inc, pages 197-257. Link to open access chapter: Link.
  • Baxter, S. D. (in press). Nutrition for healthy children and adolescents ages 2 to 18 years. In Berdanier CD, Dwyer J, Heber D (eds), Handbook of Nutrition and Food, Third Edition.

Selected Presentations

  • Baxter, S.D., Guinn, C.H., Puryear, M.P., Vaadi, K.K., Royer, J.A., Hitchcock, D.B.(2012).  One-month test-retest reliability of a five-item food security survey with fourth-grade children.  Poster presentation at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics' Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo, Philadelphia, PA.
  • Guinn, C. H., Baxter, S. D., Royer, J.A., Hitchcock, D. B., Pate, R. R., Wilson, D. K., McIver, K. L.  (2012).  Which interview content yields more accurate dietary information from children - Dietary intake only or both dietary intake and physical activity?  Podium presentation at the Society for Nutrition Education’s Annual Conference, Washington, DC.
  • Paxton, A. E., Baxter, S. D., Royer, J. A., Guinn, C. H., Devlin, C. M.  (2011).  Children's body mass index and school meal participation during the 4th-grade school year.  Poster presentation at Experimental Biology, Washington, DC.
  • Smith, A. F., Baxter, S. D., Hardin, J. W., Guinn, C. H., Royer, J. A., Mackelprang, A. J.  (2010).  Children’s dietary reporting accuracy is related to cognitive ability.  Poster presentation at the Association for Psychological Science’s Annual Convention, Boston, MA.
  • Baxter, S. D.  Cognitive Processes in Children’s Recall. (Invited presentation). (2007).  Cambridge University, Population Health Sciences Research Network, Medical Research Council, Human Nutrition Research, Population Research Group, Cambridge University, UK.
  • Baxter, S. D.  Assessment of Dietary Intake in Elementary School Children (age 6 – 11 years). (Invited presentation). (2004).  National Children’s Study:  Dietary Assessment in a Prospective Epidemiologic Study of Pregnant Women and their Offspring Workshop, Silver Spring, MD.

Awards and Honors

  • 2012Outstanding Dietitian of the Year, South Carolina Dietetic Association.
  • 2009-2012President-Elect, President, and Past-President, South Carolina Dietetic Association.
  • 2007-2013Board of Editors, Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
  • 2004-2007Member, Cardiovascular and Sleep Epidemiology (CASE) Study Section (formerly Epidemiology of Chronic Diseases [ECD] Study Section) of Center for Scientific Review at National Institutes of Health.

 

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