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Tameka Walls

Epidemiologist

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Contact Information

USDA ARS
Southeast Area Office
Delta Human Nutrition Research Program
141 Experiment Station Road
Stoneville, MS 38776
Phone: 662-686-3637
Fax: 662-686-5309

Publications

Via ARIS system
Via OrcID
Via Google Scholar
Via Research Gate

Education

PhD, Walden University, 2017
MS, Mississippi Valley State University (MVSU), 2002
BS, Mississippi Valley State University, 1999

Professional Positions

2020-present, Research Epidemiologist, USDA ARS, Southeast Area Office, Delta Human Nutrition Research Program, Stoneville MS

2017-2020, Director, Mississippi State Department of Health, Greenwood MS

2007-2017, Bureau Director, Mississippi State Department of Health, Greenwood MS

2006-2007, Special Project Officer, Mississippi State Department of Health, Greenwood MS

2006-2010, Program Manager, Westat, Rockville MD

1999-2006, Laboratory Technician, USDA ARS, Southeast Area, Catfish Genetics Research Unit, Stoneville MS

Research Accomplishments

Effect of Neighborhood Food Outlets on Parent and Adolescent Diets

Exposure to nutrition environments can affect an individual’s dietary choices both positively and negatively. However, research assessing relationships between diet and food outlet presence in neighborhoods and between diet and shopping at food outlets is inconsistent. My colleagues and I analyzed data from over 1,500 parent-adolescent dyads who participated in the Family Life, Activity, Sun, Health and Eating Study and determined that

/ARSUserFiles/55180/julian-gruneberg-pI2qgbcbQ1Q-unsplash.jpgPhoto courtesy of Julian Gruneberg via Unsplash.com.

presence of neighborhood farmers markets as well as shopping at farmers markets positively affected parent diets (increased intakes of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains). Conversely, shopping at convenience stores and eating meals away from home at restaurants adversely affected both parent and adolescent diets (increased intakes of added sugars). Eating scratch cooked meals at home positively affected both parent and adolescent diets (increased intakes of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains). Thus, regardless of neighborhood nutrition environments, interventions and policies designed to bring about positive changes in familial diets should consider teaching adults and children how to shop for healthful foods at numerous types of food outlets, avoid or reduce frequency of eating away from home, and cook and consume meals at home, particularly those that are scratch cooked.

Patterns of Physical Activity and Screen Time Parenting Practices

Parents can influence their children’s physical activity and sedentary behaviors through the practices they use to support, encourage, and promote engagement in physical activity as well as to limit screen. Effects of physical activity and screen time parenting practices are important because US adolescents typically do not meet recommendations for physical activity and exceed recommendations for screen time. My colleagues and I analyzed data from over 1,100 parent-adolescent dyads who participated in the Family Life, Activity, Sun, Health and Eating Study and identified 4 patterns of parenting practices regarding physical activity and 5 patterns regarding screen time. For physical activity, patterns ranged from use of all 5 parenting practices, use of some practices, to no practice use and parent and adolescent reports were generally in agreement. Similarly, for screen time, patterns ranged from use of

/ARSUserFiles/55180/juan-cruz-mountford-AMFWArSckYM-unsplash.jpgPhoto courtesy of Juan Cruz via Unsplash.com.

all 6 parenting practices, use of some practices, to no practice use and parent and adolescent reports were generally in agreement for all but one of the patterns. Additionally, physical activity patterns were associated with adolescent age, and parent and adolescent body mass index, physical activity, and legitimacy of parental authority (belief that parents have the right to set rules about their children's behavior). Screen time patterns were associated with adolescent age, sex, body mass index, and sedentary behaviors and parent and adolescent legitimacy of parental authority. Advocating for parental use of combinations of physical activity and screen time parenting practices, such as modeling and monitoring, may prove more beneficial to adolescent health behaviors than use of pressuring and permissive practices or no practice use.

Service, Leadership & Professional Activities

Mississippi Public Health Association, Member, 2012-present
American Public Health Association, Member, 2009-present
Society for Epidemiologic Research, Member, 2014-2015

Honors, Awards, Achievement & Recognition

National Society for Leadership and Success, 2019
President Scholar, MVSU Natural Sciences & Environmental Health Department, 2002
Honor Scholar, MVSU Natural Sciences & Environmental Health Department, 1999