Before joining HHP, Ledoux was with the USDA/ARS Children’s Nutrition Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.
She is currently in the process of collecting preliminary data to inform the development of an intervention aimed at preventing excess weight gain during pregnancy. “Excess weight gain during pregnancy is a risk for child and maternal obesity and pregnancy complications,” she said. “Mothers are highly motivated to correct unhealthy eating behaviors during this time, so it is an optimal time in the life cycle to intervene.”
The combining of nutrition and health psychology began after four years of nutrition counseling at her first job as a clinical nutrition manager in a Memphis, Tennessee hospital. “I spent almost four, very frustrating years in that job trying to figure out why people were continung to eat unhealthy despite having chronic conditions,” she said. “I decided psychology training would help me to understand people and what motivates and changes their behavior.”
Upon receiving her master’s and doctorate in the field of psychology, Ledoux realized that there were no definitive answers, which led her to pursue research.
In 2012, she recieved the Educator of the Year Award from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association), which is the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals.
Ledoux has found HHP to be a great fit for incorporating both her nutrition and psychology backgrounds. “I have supportive and fun colleagues, smart and motivated students, incredible resources within the department from the TORC and the LIP and a university on its way to being one of the top universities in the health sciences,” she adds. “UH, and specifically HHP and TORC, have been a professional home for me like I have never experienced.”