Laura Bellows
Laura Bellows
Associate Professor
Division of Nutritional Sciences

3107 MVR Hall


Dr. Bellows is an Associate Professor in the Division of Nutritional Sciences. In 2021 she joined the faculty at Cornell after spending 20 years at Colorado State University. Her research is focused on the development of eating habits and physical activity patterns in early childhood; interventions in the early care setting; and the influence of parental behaviors and the home environment on the development of these behaviors.  Much of her work is focused on health disparate populations, including those with limited resources, who are Hispanic/Latino, and living in rural communities. As an interventionist, Dr. Bellows is interested in optimization of intervention design as well as m-Health and digital strategies. Additionally, Dr. Bellows has worked with an interdisciplinary food systems team contributing expertise in diet quality, food security, the food environment and rural communities.  Her work has received funding from USDA, NIH, and community foundations.  In 2011, Dr. Bellows was awarded the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) by President Barack Obama.  In 2019, she received the Society of Nutrition Education and Behavior’s Mid-Career Award.  She currently serves as an Associate Editor for the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity.

Broadly, my research examines the impact of community-based interventions on public health outcomes. Specifically, my work focuses on the development of eating habits and physical activity patterns in early childhood audiences. To date my work has utilized innovative approaches in the development, implementation, and evaluation of interventions aimed at preventing childhood obesity in preschool settings and the home environment. I am committed to improving health outcomes through community-informed interventions by promoting health equity amongst at-risk audiences - those with limited resources, who are Hispanic, living in rural settings, and with limited health literacy.  Currently, my research is focused on digital (m-Health) intervention strategies, including mobile apps, food photography, and other digital evaluation approaches.

My research goals are to continue to explore how modifiable behaviors and environments impact child and caregiver behaviors related to nutrition, physical activity, and healthy growth. This goal is guided by a philosophy which espouses the close connection between behavior and health outcomes and a commitment to influencing behaviors in early childhood and at-risk populations, particularly those which relate to childhood obesity.

While my primary research activities have focused on early childhood audiences and settings, I have expanded my work recently to examine: ECE teacher wellness; maternal self-care; parent child interactions related to active play, and the quality of home food environment and its relationship to food and nutrition security and health outcomes. Along with my early childhood work, these efforts encompass a mix of four core areas that drive my research program: behavior change, community-based interventions, systems thinking and health equities.

NS 1400: Introduction to Human Biology, Health and Society

NS 4500: Public Health Nutrition

Below are select publications from the last 3 years.  For a full list of my publications, please visit my Google Scholar page.

Hobbs, S.*, Bellows, L.L., Coatsworth, D., Johnson, S.L. (In Press). Using Plan, Do, Study, Act Cycles to Improve a Maternal Self-Care Intervention with Audience Input.  Health Promotion Practice.

Barrett, K.J., Hibbs-Shipp, S.K.*, Hobbs, S.*, Boles, R., Nelson, T., Johnson, S.L., Bellows, L.L. (In Press). Maternal Risk of Cardiovascular Disease Is Associated with Higher Body Mass Index among Preschool-aged Children: A Cross-sectional Study. Childhood Obesity.

Reyes, L.I.*, Johnson, S.L., Chamberlin, B., Bellows, L.L. (2023). Engaging Preschoolers in Food Tasting and Movement Activities Using Mobile Apps. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 55:1, 77-80.

 Bellows, L.L., Lou, Y.*, Nelson, R.*, Reyes, L.I.*, Brown, R.M.*, Mena, N.Z.*, Boles, R.E. (2022). A Narrative Review of  Dietary Assessment Tools for Preschool-Aged Children in the Home Environment. Nutrients, 14 (22), 4793.

Altares, A.*, Hobbs, S.*, Sobel, D.*, Nelson, T., Serpa, M., Bellows, L.L. (2022). Cultivating Community Change to Promote Food Access and Healthy Eating through Participatory Action Research with Youth. Journal of Community Practice. 30:4, 378-394.

Swindle, T.S., Bellows, L.L., Mitchell, V.E., Johnson, S.L., Shakya, S., Zhang, D., Selig, J.P., Whiteside-Mansell, L. Curran, G.M. (2022). Predictors of Sustainment of Two Distinct Nutrition and Physical Activity Programs in Early Care and Education. Frontiers in Health Services, 102.

Swindle, T.S., Poosala, A.B., Zeng, N.*, Borsheim, E., Andres, A., Bellows, L.L. (2022). Digital Intervention Strategies for Increasing Physical Activity Among Preschoolers: A Systematic Review. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 24(1):e28230.

Ferrante, M.J.*, Johnson, S.L., Miller, J., Bellows, L.L. (2022). Switching up Sides: Using Choice Architecture to Alter Children’s Menus in Restaurants. Appetite, 168, 105704.

Bellows, L.L., Mena, N.Z*., Reznar, M.M., Taylor, C.A., Sigman-Grant, M. (2022). Strengthening Nutrition Education and Behavior Research for Academicians and Practitioners: A Perspective. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 54,84-93.

Barrett, K.J., Hibbs-Shipp, S.K.*, Hobbs, S., Boles, R.E., Johnson, S.L., Bellows, L.L. (2021). Validation of a Home Food Environment Instrument Assessing Household Food Patterning and Quality. Nutrients, 13, 3930.

Mena, N.Z.*, Johnson, S.L., Ferrante, M.J.*, Hobbs, S.J.*, Zeng, N.*, Bellows, L.L. (2021). The SPORKS for Kids: Integrating Movement into Nutrition Education. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 53(10), 903-906.

Agard, R.*, Zeng, N.*, McCloskey, M., Johnson, S. L., & Bellows, L.L.  (2021).  Understanding Parent Perceptions related to Physical Activity and Motor Skill Development in Preschool Children.  International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(17), 9196.

Cleary, R., Bonanno, A., Ghazaryan, A., Bellows, L. McCloskey, M. (2021). School Meals and Household Dietary Quality. Applied Economics Practice and Policy, 1-58.

Ferrante, M.J.*, Mohr, G., Miller, J., Johnson, S.L., & Bellows, L.L. (2021). Examining parent preferences for the use of behavioral economic strategies on children’s menus in restaurants. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 121(8), 1515-1527.e2.

Thompson, D.A., Bekelman, T.A., Ferrante, M.J.*, McCloskey, M.L., Johnson, S.L., Bellows, L.L. (2021).  Picture perfect – how attaining the ideal meal isn’t so easy for parents of young children.  Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 53(4), 290-298.

Bellows, L.L.,Hambright, A.*, Ferrante, M.J.*, Hobbs, S.*, & Johnson, S.L. (2021). Super Tasters and Mighty Movers: A Booster Program for Sustained Behavior Change in Early Elementary School. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 53(1),84-86.

Bellows, L.L., Hobbs, S.*, Johnson, S.L. (2021). The Tasting Party Assessment: Can Teachers Reliably Evaluate Preschoolers’ Willingness to Try New Foods in Group Settings? Journal of Human Sciences & Extension, 9(1), 21-33. Available from:

Ferrante, M.J.*, Moding, K.J., Bellows, L.L., Bakke, A.J., Hayes, J.E., & Johnson, S.L. (2021). Examining front-of-package product names and ingredient lists of infant and toddler foods containing vegetables.  Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 53(2), 96-102.  

Elliott, S.*, McCloskey, M., Johnson, S.L., Mena, N.Z.*, Swindle, T.S., Bellows, L.L. (2021). Food Photography as a Tool to Assess Type, Quantity, and Quality of Foods in Parent Packed Lunches for Preschoolers. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 53(2), 164-173.

Swindle, T., Zhang, D., Johnson, S.L., Whiteside-Mansell, L., Curran, G., Martin, J., Selig, J., Bellows, L. (2021). A mixed-methods protocol for identifying successful sustainability strategies for nutrition and physical activity interventions in childcare. Implementation Science Communications,2,8.

McCloskey, M.L., Kesterson, H.*, Mena, N.Z.*, Dellaport, J., Bellows, L.L. (2020). Farm to Early Care and Education Programming: A Descriptive Study of Challenges and Opportunities to Promote Healthful Foods to Young Children. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(18), 6857.

Michell, K., Isweiri, H., Newman, S., Bunning, M., Bellows, L., Dinges, M., Grabos, L., Rao, S., Foster, M., Heuberger, A., Prenni, J., Thompson, H., Uchanski, M., Weir, T. L., Johnson, S.A. (2020). Microgreens: Consumer Sensory Perception and Acceptance of an Emerging Functional Food Crop. Journal of Food Science, 85(4), 926-935.

Moding, K.J., Bellows, L.L., Grimm, K.J., Johnson, S.L. (2020). A Longitudinal Examination of the Role of Sensory Exploratory Behaviors in Young Children’s Acceptance of New Foods. Physiology and Behavior, 218(112821).




2007, Ph.D., Community Nutrition, Colorado State University

1999, M.P.H. , Human Nutrition, University of Michigan

1997, B.S., Exercise Science & Health Promotion, Miami University

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