Melanie D Hingle

Melanie D Hingle

Associate Professor, Nutritional Sciences
Associate Professor, Public Health
Member of the Graduate Faculty
Associate Professor, BIO5 Institute
Primary Department
Department Affiliations
(520) 621-3087

Work Summary

Melanie Hingle's work focuses on understanding determinants of energy balance behaviors (i.e. how and why behaviors are initiated and sustained), and identifying contributors to the success of interventions (i.e. when, where, and how interventions should be delivered) are critical steps toward developing programs that effectively change behavior, thereby mitigating unhealthy weight gain and promoting optimal health. Current projects include: Determinants of metabolic risk, and amelioration of risk, in pediatric cancer survivors, Guided imagery intervention delivered via a mobile software application to increase healthy eating and physical activity in weight-concerned women smokers, and Family-focused diabetes prevention program delivered in partnership with the YMCA.

Research Interest

Identify and understand determinants of behavioral, weight-related, and metabolic outcomes in children, adolescents, and families, including how and why so-called “obesogenic behaviors” (unhealthy dietary habits, sedentary behaviors) are initiated and sustained. Develop and test novel approaches to motivate healthy lifestyle changes in children, adolescents, and families, including development, testing, and assessment of face-to-face and mobile device-based interventions.


Hingle, M., Nichter, M., Medeiros, M., & Grace, S. (2013). Texting for Health: The Use of Participatory Methods to Develop Healthy Lifestyle Messages for Teens. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 45, 12-19.
BIO5 Collaborators
Scott B Going, Melanie D Hingle
Hingle, M., Turner, T., Kutob, R., Merchant, N., Roe, D., Stump, C., & Going, S. B. (2015). The EPIC Kids Study: A Randomized Family-Focused YMCA-Based Intervention to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes in At-Risk Youth. BMC Public Health.
BIO5 Collaborators
Scott B Going, Melanie D Hingle

BMC Public Health. 2015 Dec 18;15:1253. doi: 10.1186/s12889-015-2595-3.

Qiao, Y., Tinker, L., Olendzki, B. C., Hébert, J. R., Balasubramanian, R., Rosal, M. C., Hingle, M., Song, Y., Schneider, K. L., Liu, S., Sims, S., Ockene, J. K., Sepavich, D. M., Shikany, J. M., Persuitte, G., & Ma, Y. (2013). Racial/ethnic disparities in association between dietary quality and incident diabetes in postmenopausal women in the United States: the Women's Health Initiative 1993-2005. Ethnicity & health.

Objective. To examine the association of dietary quality and risk of incident diabetes overall and by race/ethnicity among postmenopausal women enrolled in the Women's Health Initiative (WHI). Research methods and procedures. The WHI recruited 161,808 postmenopausal women between 1993 and 1998, and followed them until 2005. Incident diabetes was determined annually over an average of 7.6 years from enrollment. At baseline, all participants completed a Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ). Dietary quality was assessed by the Alternate Healthy Eating Index (AHEI), calculated from the baseline FFQ responses. Results. There were 10,307 incident cases of self-reported treated diabetes over 1,172,761 person-years of follow-up. Most participants did not meet the AHEI dietary goals; that is, only 0.1% of women met or exceeded the recommended consumption of vegetables, and few (17.3%) met or exceeded the recommended level for total fiber. After adjusting for potential confounders, women in the highest quintile of the AHEI score were 24% less likely to develop diabetes relative to women in the lowest quintile of AHEI [hazard ratio (HR) = 0.76 (95% CI: 0.70-0.82)]. This association was observed in Whites [HR = 0.74 (95% CI: 0.68-0.82)] and Hispanics [HR = 0.68 (95% CI: 0.46-0.99)], but not in Blacks [HR = 0.85 (95% CI: 0.69-1.05)] or Asians [HR = 0.88 (95% CI: 0.57-1.38)]. Conclusion. These findings support a protective role of healthful eating choices in reducing the risk of developing diabetes, after adjusting for other lifestyle factors, in White and Hispanic postmenopausal women. Future studies are needed to investigate the relationship between dietary quality and risk of diabetes among Blacks and Asians in relationship to other lifestyle factors.

O'Connor, T. M., Hingle, M., Chuang, R., Gorely, T., Hinkley, T., Jago, R., Lanigan, J., Pearson, N., & Thompson, D. A. (2013). Conceptual understanding of screen media parenting: report of a working group. Childhood obesity (Print), 9 Suppl, S110-8.

Screen media (television, computers, and videogames) use has been linked to multiple child outcomes, including obesity. Parents can be an important influence on children's screen use. There has been an increase in the number of instruments available to assess parenting in feeding and physical activity contexts, however few measures are available to assess parenting practices regarding children's screen media use. A working group of screen media and parenting researchers convened at the preconference workshop to the 2012 International Society for Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity (ISBNPA) annual meeting, "Parenting Measurement: Current Status and Consensus Reports," to identify and prioritize issues in assessing screen media parenting practices. The group identified that screen media use can pose different risks for children, depending on their age and developmental stage, across physiologic, psychosocial, and development outcomes. With that in mind, a conceptual framework of how parents may influence their child's screen-viewing behaviors was proposed to include the screen media content, context of viewing, and amount viewed. A research agenda was proposed to prioritize a validation of the framework and enhance the ability of researchers to best assess parenting influences across the three domains of content, context and amount of children's screen media use.

Beltran, A., Hingle, M. D., Knesek, J., O'Connor, T., Baranowski, J., Thompson, D., & Baranowski, T. (2011). Identifying and clarifying values and reason statements that promote effective food parenting practices, using intensive interviews. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 43(6), 531-535.

PMID: 22078775;PMCID: PMC3215937;Abstract:

Objective: Generate and test parents' understanding of values and associated reason statements to encourage effective food parenting practices. Methods: This study was cross-sectional. Sixteen parents from different ethnic groups (African American, white, and Hispanic) living with their 3- to 5-year-old child were recruited. Interested parents were directed to a Web site, where they provided screening information and informed consent. Two types of telephone interviews were used: semistructured intensive interviews and cognitive interviews. Results: The most common core values identified in the semistructured interview were religion/spirituality, family, and health, which appeared invariant across parent ethnicity. Parent responses to cognitive interviews enabled rephrasing of statements that were not well understood, the list of values was increased, and reason statements were added to cover the spectrum cited by parents. Conclusions and Implications: Values and reason statements will be used to tailor intrinsic motivational messages for effective food parenting practices. © 2011 Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior.