Rachel Novotny, PhD, RDN, LD

Rachel Novotny, PhD, RDN, LD

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1955 East West Road, Agricultural Sciences 302-i, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822-2231

MS in Nutritional Sciences | PhD in Nutritional Sciences | Children's Healthy Living (CHL) Center

Full Member, Population Sciences in the Pacific Program (Cancer Epidemiology), University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center

Academic Appointment(s):
Professor, Population Sciences in the Pacific Program (Cancer Epidemiology), University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center
Professor and Graduate Chair, Nutritional Sciences, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Director, Children's Healthy Living Center of Excellence (CHL Center), Human Nutrition, Food and Animal Sciences Department, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources

PhD, MS, Nutrition, Cornell University
RD, Registered Dietitian


2019 - CHL Program, Mission Integration of Research, Education and Extension, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA
Member, USDA/DHHS 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee

Research Focus

My current major effort is as Principal Investigator (PI) and Director of the Children’s Healthy Living Center of Excellence (CHL Center) and its long term follow up of the successful CHL community randomized clinical trial across the U.S. Affiliated Pacific Islands region. This effort tests sustainability of multilevel multicomponent approaches to child obesity in a region with one of the highest levels of obesity in the world. As PI of this regional effort, we have mobilized the region in training research and outreach to change the trajectory of health in the region. I conduct intervention trials to improve diet, physical activity, community environment and other systems approaches to improve health of women, adolescents, and young children in diverse understudied populations. Individual behavior change approaches have had modest influence on preventing obesity. Leveraging multiple levels of influence and mobilizing communities are needed for sustainable change. My work has developed approaches for diverse populations, recognizing biologic and cultural variability. I examine ethnic variability of body size, involving diet, and novel measures, and its influence on growth, maturation and health. The relative role of biology and environment has been and continues to be one of the great questions of health research. Child growth among diverse populations has provided opportunity to demonstrate modifiable aspects of body size and composition to improve health. Working with diverse populations requires development and testing of tools and approaches for study. I have developed dietary and anthropometric assessment tools, involving testing and application of reference tools and approaches for diverse populations of the Pacific.

Selected Publications

Novotny R, Davis J, Butel J, Boushey CJ, Fialkowski MK, Nigg CR, Braun K,L, LeonGuerrero RL, Coleman P, Bersamin A, Areta A, Barber LR, Belyeu-Camacho T, Greenberg J, Fleming T, Delacruz-Talbert E, Yamanaka A, Wilkens LR. (2018). Effect of the Children’s Healthy Living Program on Young Child Overweight, Obesity, and Acanthosis Nigricans in the US affiliated Pacific Region: A Randomized Controlled Trial JAMA Network Open; 1(6):E183896. PMID: 30646266.

Lee Y, Savaiano DA, McCabe GP, Pottenger FM, Welshimer K, Weaver CM, McCabe LD, Novotny R, Read M, Going S, Mason A, VanLoan M, Boushey CJ. (2018). Behavioral Intervention in Adolescents Improves Bone Mass, Yet Lactose Maldigestion Is a Barrier. Nutrients; 10, 421; doi:10.3390/nu1004042.

Novotny R, Li F, Leon Guerrero R, Coleman P, Tufa A, Bersamin A, Deenik J, Wilkens LR. (2017), Dual burden of malnutrition in US Affiliated Pacific jurisdictions in the Children’s Healthy Living Program. BMC Public Health; 17:483. PMID: 28532446.

Reynolds K, Go AS, Leong TK, Boudreau DM, Cassidy-Bushrow AE, Fortmann SP, Goldberg RJ, Gurwitz JH, Magid DJ, Margolis KL, McNeal CJ, Newton KM, Novotny R, Quesenberry CP Jr, Rosamond WD, Smith DH, VanWormer JJ, Vupputuri S, Waring SC, Williams MS, Sidney S. (2017). Trends in Incidence of Hospitalized Acute Myocardial Infarction in the Cardiovascular Research Network (CVRN). Am J Med; Mar;130(3):317-327.

Novotny R, Nigg C, Li F, Wilkens L. (2015). Pacific Kids DASH for Health (PacDASH) randomized controlled trial with DASH eating plan plus physical activity improves fruit and vegetable intake and diastolic blood pressure in children. Childhood Obesity; April; Volume 11, Number 2:1-6. PMID: 25671796.

Wilken[s] LR, Novotny R, Fialkowski MK, Boushey CJ, Nigg C, Paulino Y, Leon Guerrero R, Bersamin A, Vargo D, Kim J, Deenik J. (2013). Children's Healthy Living (CHL) Program for Remote Underserved Minority Populations in the Pacific Region: Rationale and Design of a Community Randomized Trial to Prevent Early Childhood Obesity. BMC Public Health; 944. doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-13-944.

Publication list via PubMed