Kay Hongu
Kay Hongu

You’ve probably heard about the Mediterranean diet emphasizing fruits, vegetables, fish, whole grains and healthy fats.  Research shows that such a diet decreases risk for hypertension, diabetes and other chronic diseases.

Some researchers have shown that the Mediterranean diet also contributes to a healthy brain, reducing risk factors for cognitive impairments and decline.

One such researcher in the field of nutritional sciences will discuss “Brain Health: Benefits of a Healthy Lifestyle” at the Arizona Senior Academy on Thursday (Sept. 25). Kay Hongu is an associate professor, nutrition and physical activity extension specialist in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Arizona.  Open to the public free of charge, her talk begins at 3:30 p.m. in the Great Room of the ASA Building.

As an extension specialist, Hongu conducts applied research and non-formal educational programs off campus in her areas of expertise, i.e. nutrition, obesity prevention and physical activity enhancement. In her community programs she partners with faculty members and other statewide clientele.

In her ongoing research projects she develops, disseminates and evaluates community-based nutrition and physical activity programs. She uses participatory research strategies to improve eating habits and enhance physical activity, especially among low-income families. She is also interested in dietary and physical activity assessments using popular mobile technologies (e.g., GPS, mobile phones, text messaging).

Hongu received a Bachelor of Arts in Education from Mukogawa Women’s University, Japan, a Master of Arts Degree in Education with an emphasis on exercise physiology from the University of Akron, Ohio, and a Ph.D. in Nutritional Sciences with an emphasis on fat metabolism from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

She completed a 4-year postdoctoral fellowship at Meharry Medical College and Vanderbilt University in Nashville where she designed and investigated the effects of dietary supplements on lipid profiles, oxidative stress and inflammation during energy restriction in overweight and obese adults.

Written by H. Deon Holt, Academy Village Volunteer

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Healthy Brains Require Healthy Lifestyles: Sept.2014
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