Linda Adair

Linda Adair, PhD

Department of Nutrition
Carolina Population Center
137 E. Franklin
CB 8120
Chapel Hill, NC 27516


Dr. Adair is a biological anthropologist with a research focus on global nutrition problems, particularly in low and middle income countries. Most of her work relates to the first “1000 Days” --- the time period from conception through the first 2 years of a child’s life. She explores factors related to healthy pregnancy and birth outcomes and early child growth. In the context of the developmental origins of adult health and disease (DOHaD), she investigates how early life factors relate to health and well-being in adulthood.  Adair has led the Cebu (Philippines) Longitudinal Health and Nutrition Survey since 1990. This birth cohort study is also part of an international collaboration (COHORTS) that has yielded a number of important insights about the early origins of obesity and cardiometabolic diseases in low and middle income countries.  Adair also studies infant feeding and growth in the context of HIV.  Work in Malawi and Rwanda is focused on the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV, and how breastfeeding and complementary feeding influence infant growth and survival. Her work in South Africa explores how maternal health affects infant pre- and early postnatal growth. A strong methods focus is on longitudinal and structural modeling of growth-related outcomes. Adair teaches International Nutrition, Analytic Methods in Nutritional Epidemiology, and leads the Doctoral Seminar each fall semester.

Honors and Awards

McGavran Award for Excellence in Teaching, University of North Carolina School of Public Health

Gillings School of Global Public Health Teaching Innovation Award

Kellogg International Prize in Nutrition Award and Lecture
2014, American Nutrition Society

Representative Courses

Analytic Methods in Nutrition Epidemiology

Doctoral Seminar

International Nutrition

Analytic Methods in Nutrition Epidemiology

Research Interests:

Health Equity, Nutrition and Physical Activity, Obesity

Service Activities

World Health Organization – Working Group on Science and Evidence for Ending Childhood Obesity

Guideline Development Group – Infant and Young Child Feeding Recommendations to prevent overweight and obesity in children

Key Publications

Childhood dual burden of under- and overnutrition in low- and middle-income countries: A critical review. Linda Adair, Emma Tzioumis (2014). Food and Nutrition Bulletin, 35(2), 230-243.

Associations of linear growth and relative weight gain during early life with adult health and human capital in countries of low and middle income: findings from five birth cohort studies. L Adair, I Bas, D Dahly, C Fall, P Hallal, R Martorell, L Micklesfield, S Norris, C Osmond, M Ramirez-Zea, H Sachdev, A Stein, C Victora (2013). Lancet, 382(9891), 525-34.

Are gestational age, birth weight, and birth length indicators of favorable fetal growth conditions? A structural equation analysis of Filipino infants. L Adair, K Bollen, M Noble (2013). Statistics in medicine, 32(17), 2950-61.

Inflammatory profiles in the non-pregnant state predict offspring birth weight at Cebu: Evidence for inter-generational effects of low grade inflammation. Linda Adair, Christopher Kuzawa, Nanette Lee, Thomas McDade, Paula Tallman (2012). Annals of Human Biology, 39(4), 267-274.


  • BS, Biological Sciences, State University of New York at Stony Brook, 1971
  • PhD, Biological Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania, 1980
  • Post-Doc, Biology / Demography, UNC-CH, 1988