Student & ECR Spotlight – Adriana Verdezoto Alvarado explores the effects of increasing fruit and vegetable accessibility on diet quality

Please tell us about your career pathway to date (positions and institutes).

I was born in Ecuador and played tennis which allowed me to obtain a scholarship to go to the United States for my education. First, I obtained my undergraduate degree in Biology at Randolph College in Virginia. While completing my undergraduate degree, I was given the opportunity to volunteer in a Hospital during the summer, where my interest in nutrition grew. I switched fields and completed my Master’s in Nutrition Science at Arizona State University. Currently, I am a third-year Ph.D. candidate at the University of Delaware.

What is your main research interest?

My main area of interest is the home food environment, specifically the choices we make with the food we have at home. The home food environment has an important role in health behaviors such as fruit and vegetable intake and overall diet quality. I am interested in exploring how accessibility to fruits and vegetables in the home can influence the family’s intake of fruits and vegetables.

How do you explain your current research/job to friends and family?

For most friends and family, I try asking them, “Do you consume what you have at home?” Usually, the answer is yes, so I explain to them how the foods at home can help us make healthful or unhealthful choices.

Given unlimited funding, what would your dream research project be?

With unlimited funding, I would like to do an intervention that targets the availability and accessibility of fruits and vegetables in the home food environment. For example, I would deliver fruits and vegetables to meet dietary recommendations for all family members. Then I would have weekly sessions to target accessibility (preparing foods for easy consumption) to the delivered fruits and vegetables. Hopefully, this would reduce food waste and increase the consumption of fruits and vegetables for the entire family.

What’s something you have learned about your research or yourself that was unexpected?

On my Ph.D. journey, I have learned many unexpected things, and some of the most important ones have been learning about resilience while doing science. Opening (sometimes closed) doors and getting published takes much patience.


If you would like to get in touch with Adriana, you can do so via e-mail at [email protected], or LinkedIn at /adrianaverdezotoalvarado/.