Amanda McClain

Research Fellow

Department of Nutrition



The foundation of my past, present, and future research is to contribute to reducing health and nutrition disparities in the context of “real world” life situations by conducting theory-driven and mixed methods research. In particular, I am interested in understanding how human and cultural capital intersect with broader life course, socioeconomic, social, community, and policy factors to shape behavior (e.g. food provisioning, food choice, physical activity), food security, and diet-related disease.

My professional trajectory includes a wide range of cumulative experience related to health behavior change, including 1) conducting physical activity and physical fitness assessments and providing individual-based health and wellness consultations, and 2) engaging in empirical and intervention research, primarily among low-income and minority groups. Two main projects were randomized-control trials (NIH-funded Heart Healthy and Ethnically Relevant (HHER) Lifestyle Program and the Lifestyle Education for Activity and Nutrition for a Leaner You (LEAN) study) in which I coordinated and disseminated theory-based and culturally-tailored interventions, working closely with a community health care clinic for the HHER study.

More recently I have been engaged with mixed methods research. My doctoral research investigated influences to food security among foreign-born Hispanics/Latinos in the U.S to inform culturally-tailored programs. The Current Population Survey complemented interviews and participant-driven photo elicitation among low-income, Mexican-origin mothers of young children in New York State to 1) elucidate differences in food insecurity by Hispanic/Latino origin/ethnicity and 2) understand ecological and life course influences to food security and food provisioning strategies.

As a postdoc, I am using data from several Hispanic/Latino cohorts to examine the role of food security, food provisioning (e.g. food away from home, participation in SNAP), acculturation, and perceived social status in dietary intake, dietary quality, allostatic load, and obesity.


Ph.D. (2016) Cornell University, Division of Nutritional Sciences, Concentration: Community Nutrition, Minors: Development Sociology, Human Development

M.S. (2005) The University of Memphis (TN), Human Movement Sciences, Concentration: Health Promotion

B.S. (2002) University of Evansville (IN), Major: Sports Medicine, Minor: Biology