"Natalie S. The Furman University"

I am a native of sunny, south Florida (West Palm Beach). I graduated from Furman University in 2003 and returned to Furman as a faculty member in 2011. I have always been interested in health, but it was during my time as an undergraduate student that I became especially interested in disease prevention and public health. I became acutely aware of how many chronic diseases could be mitigated or even prevented with lifestyle changes; yet, there are still so many people whose lives are affected by these diseases. As a result, I decided to pursue a Masters in Public Health in Epidemiology at Emory University. At Emory, I also had the opportunity to work the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, I began to realize how public health research can help us better understand disease processes and influence health policy and interventions. This ultimately led me to the University of North Carolina at Chape l Hill, where I received my PhD in Nutritional Epidemiology and was also a post-doctoral fellow for one year. It was at UNC, where I truly cultivated an enthusiasm for the prevention of obesity and diabetes.

I am married to Matt Davidson, a 2004 Furman graduate. Matt was a member of the Furman Men’s Golf Team from 1999-2004 and I was a member of the Furman Women’s Tennis team from 1999-2003. In my spare time, I enjoy running, playing tennis, traveling, and spending time outdoors with my chocolate Labrador, Riley.


Name Title Description


Wellness Concepts

Wellness concepts which promote lifetime fitness and healthy lifestyle habits. Topics include: aerobic and muscular conditioning, nutrition, and medical aspects of fitness. Participation in activities to develop cardio-respiratory endurance, muscular strength and endurance, and flexibility.


Nutrition and Public Health

Nutrition assessment methodology and resources available to guide nutrient and dietary intake of individuals and populations. Exploration of public health nutrition interventions at the individual, community and national levels.


Fundamentals of Nutrition

In-depth continuation of the study of nutrition as presented in HSC-101. Study of the structure, function and selection of food to resist disease, improve health and support maximum human performance.



An introduction to epidemiologic concepts and methods used to evaluate the distribution and determinants of health and disease in populations. Emphasis on basic principles of epidemiology, measures in epidemiology, and epidemiologic study designs and analysis. Other topics that are important to an introductory understanding of epidemiology including outbreak investigations, screening, and the role of epidemiology in public health will also be included. Laboratories will focus on the calculation and application of basic epidemiology measures of disease frequency, comparison, and impact.

Published Peer Reviewed Manuscripts

  • The NS, Crandell J, Mayer-Davis EJ, et al. Medical Nutrition Therapy in Relation to Clinical Care and Demographic Characteristics. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. In Press.
  • Mayer-Davis EJ, Dabelea D, Crandell JL, Crume T, D’Agostino RB, Dolan L, King IB, Lawrence JM, Norris JM, Pihoker C, The NS. Nutritional factors and preservation of c- peptide in youth with recently diagnosed type 1 diabetes. Diabetes Care. In press.
  • The NS, Richardson A, Gordon-Larsen P. Obesity Timing and Its Effect on Diabetes in Young Adulthood. Diabetes Care 2013; 36(4):865-72.
  • The NS, Suchindran C, Popkin BM, North KE, Gordon-Larsen P. The Association of Adolescent Obesity with Risk of Severe Obesity in Adulthood. JAMA 2010; 304(18):2042-2047.
  • The NS, Gordon-Larsen P, Adair LS. A study of the relationship between birth weight and obesity using a longitudinal cohort and sibling and twin pairs. Am J Epidemiol. 2010; 172(5):549-57.
  • Gordon-Larsen P, The NS, Adair LS. Longitudinal trends in obesity in the United States from adolescence to the third decade of life. Obesity 2010; 18(9):1801-4.
  • The NS & Gordon-Larsen P. Entry into romantic partnership is association with obesity. Obesity 2009; 17(7):1441-7.
  • The NS, Honein MA, Caton AR, Morore CA, Siega-Riz AM, Druschel CM. Risk factors for isolated biliary atresia: National Birth Defects Prevention Study, 1997-2002. Am J Gen 2007; 143A(19):2274-84.

Manuscripts in Preparation/Submitted

  • The NS, Crandell J, Lawrence JM, King IB, Dabalea D, Marcovina SM, D’Agostino RB, Pihoker C, Mayer-Davis EJ. Vitamin D in youth with Type 1 Diabetes: Prevalence of deficiency and association with insulin resistance. (under review, Diabetic Medicine).

During my time in my doctoral program in Nutritional Epidemiology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, I investigated determinants of obesity, physical activity and sedentary behavior using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health). My doctoral research focused on better understanding the etiology of obesity and predisposing factors shaping the inequality in risk for minority groups. My work has been featured in several media outlets, including a cover story in USA Today, Time, and on the NPR show, “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me.” In addition, I have used unique epidemiological methods (twin and sibling models) to better understand intra-uterine environmental and genetic factors on later obesity. Finally, I investigated trends in obesity and severe obesity across the transition from adolescence to young adulthood and how weight over the life course affe cts pre-diabetes and diabetes in young adulthood, with a focus on race/ethnic disparities.

In order to develop a more well-rounded knowledge of the nutrition and diabetes, I decided to complete a one-year post-doctoral fellowship at UNC – Chapel Hill where I focused on nutritional determinants of insulin sensitivity and preservation of β cell function in youth with type 1 diabetes using data the SEARCH for Diabetes in youth study.

At Furman University, I have continued my work focused on childhood obesity by examining how policies have influenced obesity levels in elementary school students through my involvement with LiveWell Greenville’s At School Project. This effort focuses on improving the school nutrition environment through policy changes targeting the cafeteria, classroom incentives and fundraising events in elementary schools and evaluating the impact of these policies on student BMI and obesity levels. In addition, I have continued my epidemiology research focused on youth with diabetes. There is evidence that youth with type 1 and type 2 diabetes already have evidence of subclinical cardiovascular disease, diabetic retinopathy, and diabetic kidney disease, which are diseases we typically associated with adulthood rather than in youth. Despite this emergence of diabetes related complications at early stages of diabetes duration, surprisingly little is known about the role of nutritional fac tors in the emergence these complications. The goal of the research is to examine associations of nutritional factors with: 1) markers of subclinical cardiovascular disease; 2) prevalence and severity of retinopathy; and 3) prevalence, severity and incidence of diabetic kidney disease in youth with diabetes. The significance of this research is to identify factors that lower risk for macro- and microvascular complications particularly early in the natural history of diabetes diagnosed during childhood when the vascular structure is still modifiable.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Emory University
Furman University

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