Lisa M Bodnar

  • Professor
  • Faculty in Epidemiology

I am a nutritional and perinatal epidemiologist, and the goal of my research is to discover the healthiest weight and dietary patterns that promote the health of pregnant women and their children. Through a strong research portfolio of federal funding, I have contributed to scientific advances in our understanding of optimal weight gain recommendations during pregnancy, evaluation of pregnancy diet patterns using novel machine learning methods, the reproductive consequences of maternal obesity, and the role of vitamin D deficiency in adverse birth outcomes. I have contributed my experience to several national panels that set guidelines for nutrition during pregnancy, including the Institute of Medicine Committee to Reevaluate Pregnancy Weight Gain Guidelines, the National Academies of Medicine Committee on Scoping Existing Guidelines for Feeding Recommendations for Infants and Young Children Under Age 2, and the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services Pregnancy Working Group that provided evidence for the 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. My research has been used in 9 reports of the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, as well as key recommendations, practice guidelines or action statements from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the U.S. Preventive Task Force, and the American Public Health Association, along with international agencies, including the World Health Organization. I also host a podcast called "Shiny Epi People," the goal of which is to humanize epidemiologists and other public health professionals. Guests from diverse backgrounds share personal or professional barriers, losses, anxieties, triumphs, and lessons learned. Vulnerability, empathy, joy, and laughter are priorities. The 64 published episodes have been downloaded over 100,000 times. 


1998 | B.S.P.H. Summa Cum Laude with Highest Honors, Nutrition | University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
1998 | Dietetic Internship | University of North Carolina Hospitals
1999 | M.P.H., Nutrition | University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
2002 | Ph.D., Nutrition; Epidemiology Minor | University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
2002-2004 | Postdoctoral Fellowship (reproductive biology) | Magee-Womens Research Institute and University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine


EPIDEM 2921: Grant Writing, Department of Epidemiology, University of Pittsburgh, School of Public Health. Primary Instructor.

Selected Publications

See a full list of publications from My Bibliography

Pregnancy Weight Gain

Bodnar LM, Hutcheon JA. Are Detailed Behavioral, Psychosocial, and Environmental Variables Necessary to Control for Confounding in Pregnancy Weight Gain Research? Epidemiology. 2023 Jan 1;34(1):56-63. Epub 2022 Sep 27. PMID: 36455246. PubMed.

Bodnar LM, Himes KP, Hutcheon JA. Optimal Gestational Weight Gain. JAMA. 2019 Sep 17; 322 (11):1106-07. PMID: 31529002. PubMed.

Bodnar LM, Khodyakov D, Parisi SM, Himes KP, Burke JG, Hutcheon JA. Rating the seriousness of maternal and child health outcomes linked with pregnancy weight gain. Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology. 2020 Nov 20. [Epub ahead of print]. PMID: 33216402. PubMed.

Bodnar LM, Johansson K, Himes KP, Khodyakov D, Abrams B, Parisi SM, Hutcheon JA. Do current pregnancy weight gain guidelines balance risks of adverse maternal and child health in a United States cohort? American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2023 Dec 29:S0002-9165(23)66189-1. doi: 10.1016/j.ajcnut.2023.10.015. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 38182445.

Hutcheon JA, Bodnar LM. Good Practices for Observational Studies of Maternal Weight and Weight Gain in Pregnancy. Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology. 2018 Mar; 32 (2):152-160. PMID: 29345321. PubMed.

Dietary Intake and Maternal and Child Health

Bodnar LM, Cartus AR, Kennedy EH, Kirkpatrick SI, Parisi SM, Himes KP, Parker CB, Grobman WA, Simhan HN, Silver RM, Wing DA, Perry S, Naimi AI. Use of a Doubly Robust Machine-Learning-Based Approach to Evaluate Body Mass Index as a Modifier of the Association Between Fruit and Vegetable Intake and Preeclampsia. American Journal of Epidemiology. 2022 Jul 23;191(8):1396-1406. PMID: 35355047.  PubMed.

Bodnar LM, Jimenez EY, Baker SS. Plant-Based Beverages in the Diets of Infants and Young Children. JAMA Pediatrics. 2021 Feb 22. [Epub ahead of print]. PMID: 33616636. PubMed.

Bodnar LM, Kirkpatrick SI, Parisi SM, Jin Q, Naimi AI. Periconceptional Dietary Patterns and Adverse Pregnancy and Birth Outcomes. The Journal of Nutrition 2023 Dec 19:S0022-3166(23)72803-4. doi: 10.1016/j.tjnut.2023.12.013. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 38122847.

Bodnar LM, Odoms-Young A, Kirkpatrick SI, Naimi AI, Petersen JM, Martin CL. Experiences of Racial Discrimination and Periconceptional Diet Quality. The Journal of Nutrition 2023 Aug;153(8):2369-2379. doi: 10.1016/j.tjnut.2023.05.028. Epub 2023 Jun 2. PMID: 37271415; PMCID: PMC10447608.

Bodnar LM, Kirkpatrick SI, Roberts JM, Kennedy EH, Naimi AI. Is the Association Between Fruits and Vegetables and Preeclampsia Due to Higher Dietary Vitamin C and Carotenoid Intakes? American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2023 Aug;118(2):459-467. doi: 10.1016/j.ajcnut.2023.06.007. Epub 2023 Jun 14. PMID: 37321543; PMCID: PMC10447882.

Bodnar LM, Kirkpatrick SI, Naimi AI. Machine learning can improve the development of evidence-based dietary guidelines. Public Health Nutrition 2022 Sep;25(9):2566-2569. doi: 10.1017/S1368980022001392. Epub 2022 Jun 27. PMID: 35757839; PMCID: PMC9378580.


Bodnar LM, Simhan HN, Parker CB, et al. Racial or Ethnic and Socioeconomic Inequalities in Adherence to National Dietary Guidance in a Large Cohort of US Pregnant Women. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2017 Jun; 117 (6):867-877. PMID: 28320597. PubMed.

Maternal Obesity

Yu YH, Bodnar LM, Himes KP, Brooks MM, Naimi AI. Association of Overweight and Obesity Development Between Pregnancies With Stillbirth and Infant Mortality in a Cohort of Multiparous Women. Obstetrics and Gynecology. 2020 Mar; 135 (3):634-643. PMID: 32028483. PubMed.

Bodnar LM, Siminerio LL, Himes KP, Hutcheon JA, Lash TL, Parisi SM, Abrams B. Maternal obesity and gestational weight gain are risk factors for infant death. Obesity. 2016 Feb; 24 (2):490-8. PMID: 26572932. PubMed.

Lemon LS, Naimi AI, Abrams B, Kaufman JS, Bodnar LM. Prepregnancy obesity and the racial disparity in infant mortality. Obesity. 2016 Dec; 24 (12):2578-84. PMID: 27891829. PubMed.

Bodnar LM, Pugh SJ, Lash TL, Hutcheon JA, Himes KP, Parisi SM, Abrams B. Low Gestational Weight Gain and Risk of Adverse Perinatal Outcomes in Obese and Severely Obese Women. Epidemiology. 2016 Nov; 27 (6):894-902. PMID: 27682365. PubMed.

Bodnar LM, Parks WT, Perkins K, Pugh SJ, Platt RW, Feghali M, Florio K, Young O, Bernstein S, Simhan HN. Maternal prepregnancy obesity and cause-specific stillbirth. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2015 Oct; 102 (4):858-64. PMID: 26310539. PubMed.