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Meet Maria Koleilat

Health Scientist Joining Faculty Researches Weight Gain and Pregnancy

Sept. 17, 2013

Maria Koleilat

Maria Koleilat

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Reducing excessive weight gain during and retained after pregnancy is the goal of research being conducted by Maria Koleilat, who joined Cal State Fullerton this fall as an assistant professor of health science. The findings from her research, funded by a $72,000 U.S. Department of Agriculture grant, will help inform her classes on health issues, such as obesity.

“Intervening during pregnancy with tools and messages that support women to gain the right amount of weight will help optimize the mother’s health through her child bearing years and, consequently, break the transgenerational cycle of obesity,” Koleilat said. “I plan to share my research on early-life risk factors for obesity in the classes I am teaching on nutrition and health.”

Koleilat, who lives in Palos Verdes Estates, earned a doctor of public health degree in community health sciences from UCLA, an M.Sc. in public health nutrition from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and a B.Sc. in nutrition and dietetics from the American University of Beirut in Lebanon. She is trilingual, in English, French and Arabic, and her research interests focus on understanding the interplay of early-life risks and environmental factors involved in the causes of obesity.

Koleilat has taught at UCLA and other universities, and her clinical experience includes stints as a therapeutic dietitian and fitness instructor. She has presented research at international conferences, published research journal articles and, in 2002, she hosted a Beirut television program on fitness.

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