The EnHANCE Cohort Study (Engaging Health, Agriculture and Nutrition through the Cornell Experience) is an initiative of the Division of Nutritional Sciences. The goal of EnHANCE is to understand how the transition to the college environment affects changes in diet, weight and metabolism. The cohort study, which was based on a random sample of the Class of 2015, led to 3 research publications and provides pilot data to support further research efforts. Planning of further studies is ongoing in 2018.

EnHANCE participants completed web-based surveys and 4 in-person visits to collect information about diet, eating habits, lifestyle, physical activity, physical measurements, and markers of metabolism measured in blood samples.

Active data collection ended in June 2012, the end of the first year for the Class of 2015, and the investigators wish to thank all participants for being a part of the study, and for their contributions of time and effort. Studies like this could not be completed without the participation of generous individuals.

The EnHANCE study was led by Dr. Cassano and a talented and dedicated team including undergraduate research assistants. The study comprised the dissertation research of Katie C. Hootman, Ph.D., M.S., R.D.N. As a Registered Dietitian with a background in clinical and community nutrition, Katie was particularly interested in body composition research and the relationships among changes in body shape, relative changes in tissue distribution over time, and the flux in measurable internal biomarkers. Project Coordinator Kristin Guertin, M.P.H., Ph.D., was a key collaborator during the active data collection phase of the study, from July 2011 to June 2012. Kristin graduated from Cornell in 2005 with a major in Biology and Society, completed her M.P.H. at Yale University in Chronic Disease Epidemiology, and completed her doctorate in Nutritional Sciences from Cornell University in 2012.

The major research findings are published in three journal articles, as follows:

  1. KC Hootman, KA Guertin, PA Cassano. Longitudinal Changes in Anthropometry and Body Composition in University Freshmen. J Am Coll Health. 2017 Jan 13:0. doi: 10.1080/07448481.2017.1280498. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 28085641.
  2. KC Hootman*, JP Trezzi*, L Kraemer, LS Burwell, X Dong, KA Guertin, C Jaeger, PJ Stover, K Hiller** and PA Cassano**(2017). Metabolomic Marker Erythritol Associated with Central Adiposity Gain in Young Adults as a Pentose-Phosphate-Pathway By-Product. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2017; 114(21):E4233-E4240. *equal contributions as first authors; **equal contributions as senior authors
  3. KC Hootman, KA Guertin and PA Cassano. Behavioral measures of eating in relation to body habitus in college freshmen (2018) Appetite. 2018 Jan 5. pii: S0195-6663(17)30042-9. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2018.01.003. [Epub ahead of print].