Posted on by Dr. Francis Collins
Marie Bragg is a first-generation American, raised by a mother who immigrated to Florida from Trinidad. She watched her uncle in Florida cope effectively with type 2 diabetes, taking prescription drugs and following doctor-recommended dietary changes. But several of her Trinidadian relatives also had type 2 diabetes, and often sought to manage their diabetes by alternative means—through home remedies and spiritual practices.
This situation prompted Bragg to develop, at an early age, a strong interest in how approaches to health care may differ between cultures. But that wasn’t Bragg’s only interest—her other love was sports, having played on a high school soccer team that earned two state championships in Florida. That made her keenly aware of the sway that celebrity athletes, such as Michael Jordan and Serena Williams, could have on the public, particularly on young people. Today, Bragg combines both of her childhood interests—the influence of celebrities and the power of cultural narratives—in research that she is conducting as an Assistant Professor of Population Health at New York University Langone Medical Center and as a 2015 recipient of an NIH Director’s Early Independence Award.
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Tags: adolescents, advertisements, African American health, athletes, Bloomberg Businessweek, celebrities, celebrity athletes, celebrity endorsements, diabetes, diet, eating habits, exercise, food, food marketing, health disparities, high-calorie beverages, high-calorie foods, Hispanic health, junk food, lifestyle, minority health, NIH Director's Early Independence Award, nutrition, obesity, popular culture, social media, sports, sugar, teen health, teens, young children