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Punam Ohri-Vachaspati

Punam Ohri-Vachaspati

Professor of Nutrition, College of Health Solutions


College of Health Solutions
Arizona State University, Downtown Phoenix campus
500 N 3rd St
Phoenix, AZ 85004-2135


  • Senior Global Futures Scientist, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory
  • Professor of Nutrition, College of Health Solutions


Punam Ohri-Vachaspati is a professor of nutrition in the College of Helath Solutions at Arizona State University.  She holds a PhD in Applied Nutrition and Food Policy from Tufts University School of Nutrition and is also a Registered Dietitian. Her current work focuses on understanding the social-ecological determinants of obesity.  Ohri-Vachaspati is a PI on a National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-funded longitudinal study investigating the influence of changes in food and physical activity related environments on childhood obesity and related behaviors. She assesses the impact of food environments and policies in schools, childcare centers, and in community settings. She also studies the role of food marketing in driving behaviors. Prior to coming to ASU, Ohri-Vachaspati was an assistant professor at Rutgers University and a Childhood Obesity Fellow at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. She has worked at the Ohio State University with the extension services for eight years.   


  • RD, Public Health Nutrition, Case Western Reserve University, 1997
  • PhD, Applied Nutrition and Food Policy, Tufts University, 1994
  • MS, Applied Nutrition and Food Policy, Tufts University, 1991
  • MS, Food and Nutrition, University of Delhi, 1982
  • BS, Food and Nutrition, University of Delhi, 1980


Journal Articles


DeWeese, R. S., M. Todd, A. Karpyn, M. J. Yedidia, M. Kennedy, M. Bruening, C. Wharton and P. Ohri-Vachaspati. 2018. Short-form audit instrument for assessing corner store healthfulness. American Journal of Health Promotion 32(1):224-232. DOI: 10.1177/0890117116679059. (link )


Bruening, M., P. Ohri-Vachaspati, A. Brewis, M. Laska, M. Todd, D. Hruschka, D. R. Schaefer, C. M. Whisner and G. Dunton. 2016. Longitudinal social networks impacts on weight and weight-related behaviors assessed using mobile-based ecological momentary assessments: Study protocols for the SPARC study. BMC Public Health 16:901. DOI: 10.1186/s12889-016-3536-5. (link )

DeWeese, R. S., M. Todd, A. Karpyn, M. J. Yedidia, M. Kennedy, M. Bruening, C. M. Wharton and P. Ohri-Vachaspati. 2016. Healthy store programs and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), but not the Supplemental Nutrition Assistant Program (SNAP), are associated with corner store healthfulness. Preventive Medicine Reports 4(Dec):256-261. DOI: 10.1016/j.pmedr.2016.06.018. (link )


Adams, M. A., M. Bruening and P. Ohri-Vachaspati. 2015. Use of salad bars in schools to increase fruit and vegetable consumption: Where's the evidence?. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 115(8):1233-1236. DOI: 10.1016/j.jand.2015.02.010. (link )


Bertmann, F. M., C. Barroso, P. Ohri-Vachaspati, J. S. Hampl, K. Sell and C. M. Wharton. 2014. Women, Infants, and Children Cash Value Voucher (CVV) use in Arizona: A qualitative exploration of barriers and strategies related to fruit and vegetable purchases. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior 46(3 [Supple.]):S53-S58. DOI: 10.1016/j.jneb.2014.02.003. (link )

Larkey, L. K., C. Keller, D. McClain, B. E. Ainsworth, P. Ohri-Vachaspati, L. L. Smith and M. Jeong. 2014. A biobehavioral model of weight loss associated with meditative movement practice among breast cancer survivors. Health Psychology Open 1(1):2055102914565495. DOI: 10.1177/2055102914565495. (link )

Tang, X., P. Ohri-Vachaspati, J. K. Abbott, R. M. Aggarwal, D. L. Tulloch, K. Lloyd and M. J. Yedidia. 2014. Associations between food environment around schools and professionally measured weight status for middle and high school students. Childhood Obesity 10(6):511-517. DOI: 10.1089/chi.2014.0065. (link )


DeWeese, R. S., M. J. Yedidia, D. L. Tulloch and P. Ohri-Vachaspati. 2013. Neighborhood perceptions and active school commuting in low-income cities. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 45(4):393-400. (link )

Kirkpatrick, S. I., J. Reedy, L. L. Kahle, J. L. Harris, P. Ohri-Vachaspati and S. M. Krebs-Smith. 2013. Fast-food menu offerings vary in dietary quality, but are consistently poor. Public Health Nutrition (First View):1-8. DOI: 10.1017/S1368980012005563. (link )

Mikkelsen, B. E. and P. Ohri-Vachaspati. 2013. Hunger, overconsumption and youth: Future directions for research in school-based public health nutrition strategies. Public Health Nutrition 16(6):953-955. DOI: 10.1017/S1368980013001250. (link )

Ohri-Vachaspati, P., K. Lloyd, D. DeLia, D. L. Tulloch and M. J. Yedidia. 2013. A closer examination of the relationship between children's weight status and the food and physical activity environment. Preventive Medicine 57(3):162-167. DOI: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2013.05.009. (link )

Ohri-Vachaspati, P., L. Turner and F. J. Chaloupka. 2013. Elementary school participation in the United States Department of Agriculture's Team Nutrition Program is associated with more healthful school lunches. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior 45(6):733-738. DOI: 10.1016/j.jneb.2012.12.006. (link )

Rimkus, L., L. M. Powell, S. N. Zenk, E. Han, P. Ohri-Vachaspati, O. Pugnach, D. C. Barker, E. A. Resnick, C. M. Quinn, J. Myllylluoma and F. J. Chaloupka. 2013. Development and reliability testing of a food store observation form. Journal of Nutirtion Education and Behavior 45(6):540-548. DOI: 10.1016/j.jneb.2013.02.005. (link )


Bertmann, F. M., P. Ohri-Vachaspati and C. Wharton. 2012. Implementation of wireless terminals at farmers' markets: Impact on SNAP redemption and overall sales. American Journal of Public Health 102(7):e53-e55. DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2012.300727 . (link )

Han, E., L. M. Powell, S. N. Zenk, L. Rimkus, P. Ohri-Vachaspati and F. J. Chaloupka. 2012. Classification bias in commercial business lists for retail food stores in the U.S. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 9(1):Art. 46. DOI: 10.1186/1479-5868-9-46. (link )

McKinnon, R. A., J. Reedy, D. Berrigan, S. M. Krebs-Smith, E. Butler, J. Chriqui, J. Cyr, L. Moore, D. Galuska, B. Handley, E. Hanlon, K. Huamani, A. Lipps, S. L. Menestrel, P. Ohri-Vachaspati, S. Parekh, L. Powell, A. B. Rodgers, S. Siddiqi, S. Slater, C. Torio and S. Welsh. 2012. The National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity research catalogue of surveillance systems and measures registry: New tools to spur innovation and increase productivity in childhood obesity research. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 42(4):433-435. DOI: 10.1016/j.amepre.2012.01.004. (link )

Ohri-Vachaspati, P., L. Leviton, P. Bors, L. Brennan, R. C. Brownson and S. Strunk. 2012. Strategies proposed by healthy kids, healthy communities partnerships to prevent childhood obesity. Preventing Chronic Disease 2012(9):Art. 100292. DOI: 10.5888/pcd9.100292. (link )

Ohri-Vachaspati, P., L. Turner and F. J. Chaloupka. 2012. Alliance for a healthier generation's competitive beverage and food guidelines: Do elementary school administrators know about them and do they report implementing them? . Journal of School Health 82(10):469-477. DOI: 10.1111/j.1746-1561.2012.00724.x. (link )

Ohri-Vachaspati, P., L. Turner and F. J. Chaloupka. 2012. Fresh fruit and vegetable program participation in elementary schools in the United States and availability of fruits and vegetables in school lunch meals. Journal of the Academy of Nutirition and Dietetics 112(6):921-926. DOI: 10.1016/j.jand.2012.02.025. (link )


Harris, J. L., M. B. Schwartz, A. Ustjanauskas, P. Ohri-Vachaspati and K. D. Brownell. 2011. Effects of serving high-sugar cereals on children's breakfast-eating behavior. Pediatrics 127(1):71-76. DOI: 10.1542/peds.2010-0864). (link )

Ohri-Vachaspati, P., D. Martinez, M. J. Yedidia and N. Petlick. 2011. Improving data accuracy of commercial food outlet databases. American Journal of Health Promotion 26(2):116-122. DOI: 10.4278/ajhp.100120-QUAN-21. (link )


Ohri-Vachaspati, P. and L. Leviton. 2010. Measuring food environments: A guide to available instruments. American Journal of Health Promotion 24(6):410-426. DOI: 10.4278/ajhp.080909-LIT-190. (link )


Ohri-Vachaspati, P., B. Masi, M. Taggart, J. Konen and J. Kerrigan. 2009. City Fresh: A local collaboration for food equity. Journal of Extension 47(6):Art. 6FEA1. (link )


Ohri-Vachaspati, P. 2008. Increasing EFNEP Program outreach and enhancing program content through local partnerships. Journal of Extension 46(2):Art. 2IAW6. (link )

Ohri-Vachaspati, P. 2008. Quick and Healthy meals: Tips and tools for planning meals for your family. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior 40(4):265-266. DOI: 10.1016/j.jneb.2007.07.010. (link )


Rabe, M., P. Ohri-Vachaspati and S. D. Scheer. 2006. The influence of the Youth Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program on nutrition knowledge and sel-reported behaviors of elementary school children. Journal of Extension 44(3):Art. 3RIB6. (link )


Leon, J. B., A. D. Marjerle, J. A. Soinski, I. Kushner, P. Ohri-Vachaspati and A. R. Sehgal. 2001. Can a nutrition intervention improve albumin levels among hemodialysis patients? A pilot study. Journal of Renal Nutrition 11(1):9-15. (link )


Ohri-Vachaspati, P. and A. R. Sehgal. 1999. Correlates of poor appetite among hemodialysis patients. Journal of Renal Nutrition 9(4):182-185. (link )

Ohri-Vachaspati, P. and A. R. Sehgal. 1999. Quality of life implications of inadequate protein nutrition among hemodialysis patients. Journal of Renal Nutrition 9(1):9-13. (link )

Ohri-Vachaspati, P. and A. J. Swindale. 1999. Iron in the diets of rural Honduran women and children. Ecology of Food and Nutrition 38(3):285-306. DOI: 10.1080/03670244.1999.9991583. (link )


Ohri-Vachaspati, P., B. Lorge Rogers, E. Kennedy and J. Goldberg. 1998. The effects of data collection methods on calorie-expenditure elasticity estimates: A study from the Dominican Republic. Food Policy 23(3-4):196-304. DOI: 10.1016/S0306-9192(98)00042-6. (link )