Gillings School Directory
Michelle A. Mendez, PhD

Michelle A. Mendez, PhD

Adjunct Assistant Professor
Department of Nutrition

Dr. Mendez is a nutritional epidemiologist whose research primary involves exploring the role of both nutritional factors and environmental pollutants in the growing epidemic of obesity and related chronic disease, including diabetes and other cardio-metabolic disorders. Her work has included research evaluating health effects of exposure to compounds such as arsenic, organochlorine chemicals and air pollution, as well as dietary and physical activity patterns, both in the US and globally.

A central aim of her work is to identify the role of dietary factors in helping to reduce the risk of adverse health effects of pollutants, to understand how disparities in nutrition, and in exposure to environmental pollutants, may separately and jointly contribute to disparities in population health. In order to better assess the role of nutritional disparities in health, Dr. Mendez also explores methodological innovations that can improve the measurement of diet and physical activity patterns.

Research Interests

  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Heart Disease and Stroke
  • Nutrition and Physical Activity
  • Obesity
  • Public Health Studies (Design, Conduct and Analysis)

Key Publications

Chronic Exposure to Arsenic and Cardiometabolic Risk – A Cross-Sectional Study in Chihuahua, Mexico. MA Mendez, C González-Horta, B Sánchez-Ramírez, L Ballinas-Casarrubias, R Hernández Cerón, D Viniegra Morales,F Baeza Terrazas, MC Ishida, D Gutiérrez-Torres, RJ Saunders, Z Drobná,RC Fry, JB Buse, D Loomis, GG García-Vargas, LM Del Razo,M Stýblo. (1970). Environ Health Perspect.

Maternal diet, prenatal exposure to dioxin-like compounds and birth outcomes in a European prospective mother-child study (NewGeneris). S Agramunt, J Alexander, H Besselink, M Botsivali, A Brantsæter, G Brunborg, L Chatzi, S Fleming, B Granum, K Gutzkow, L Hardie, M Haugen, J Kleinjans, L Knudsen, M Kogevinas, H Meltzer, M Mendez, D Merlo, E Papadopoulou, M Pedersen, K Sarri, J Sunyer, J Wright (2014). The Science of the total environment, 484.

Shifts in the Recent Distribution of Energy Intake among U.S. Children Aged 2-18 Years Reflect Potential Abatement of Earlier Declining Trends. M Mendez, D Miles, B Popkin, M Slining, D Sotres-Alvarez (2014). The Journal of nutrition.

Longitudinal analysis of dietary patterns in Chinese adults from 1991 to 2009. L Adair, C Batis, P Gordon-Larsen, M Mendez, B Popkin, D Sotres-Alvarez (2014). The British journal of nutrition, 111(8), 1441-51.

Dietary pattern trajectories during 15 years of follow-up and HbA1c, insulin resistance and diabetes prevalence among Chinese adults. C Batis, P Gordon-Larsen, M Mendez, B Popkin, D Sotres-Alvarez (2014). Journal of epidemiology and community health.


PhD, Epidemiology, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2000

MSPH, Epidemiology, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1997

BA, Public and International Affairs, Princeton University, 1988

Recent News