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Carolyn Gunther

Associate Professor, Department of Human Sciences
Associate Professor, Pediatrics

Program Area: Human Nutrition

(614) 292-5125

Personal Website


Carolyn Gunther is Associate Professor of Human Nutrition and Extension State Specialist at The Ohio State University. Professor Gunther received her PhD from Purdue University in Nutrition Science and served as Director of Research in the College of Education and Human Ecology prior to joining the Ohio State faculty.

Her research program is dedicated to discovering new knowledge surrounding one of today’s most pressing public health nutrition issues – overweight and obesity among underserved children and youth. Specifically, through observational and intervention research, her team is investigating the behavioral and environmental factors, both protective and detrimental, that influence a child’s risk for obesity. Findings generated from her work have direct implications regarding federal, state, and local foods and nutrition policy and programmatic reform.Dr. Gunther has authored or co-authored more than 20 peer-reviewed journal articles in this area of inquiry, and her research is supported by competitive grants from the public and private sector.

In recognition of her scholarly work, she has received competitive awards, including the Outstanding Undergraduate Research Mentor award at Ohio State. In addition, she has held elected leadership positions in her professional organizations, such as chair of the American Society for Nutrition’s Nutrition Education and Behavior Science Research Interest Section, and chair of the W2003 USDA Multi-State team. She also serves on the board of editors for the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, which recently awarded her with the Reviewer of Excellence award for the quality of her reviews.


  • PhD, Nutrition, Purdue University, 2004
  • BA, Biology, Taylor University, 1995

Research Interests

Research Summary

  • Family meals in economically disadvantaged populations
  • Unhealthy summer weight gain in school age children residing in low-income households


  • 2016 - Distinguished Alumni Award (“110 Diamonds”), Department of Nutrition Science, Purdue University
  • 2016 - Diversity Fellow, College of Education and Human Ecology, Office of Diversity and Inclusion, The Ohio State University
  • 2014 - Reviewer of Excellence Award, Journal of Nutritional Education and Behavior
  • 2013 - Distinguished Undergraduate Research Mentor Award, The Ohio State University

Selected Publications

  • Hopkins LC, Fristad M, Goodway JD, Eneli I, Holloman C, Kennel JA, Melnyk B, Webster A, Sharn A, Gunther C. Feasibility and Acceptability of Technology-based Caregiver Engagement Strategies Delivered in a Summertime Childhood Obesity Prevention Intervention: results from the Camp NERF (Nutrition, Education, Recreation, and Fitness) study. Accepted at BMC Pilot and Feasibility Trials.
  • Hopkins LC, Jones BL, Evich CD, Gunther C. Methods and design of a prospective observational cohort study examining influences on weight gain in underserved school aged children. Accepted at BMJ Open.
  • Rose A, Williams R, Gillis B, Kennel J, Gunther C. (2018) Determining attitudinal and behavioral factors concerning milk and dairy intake and their association with calcium intake in college students. Nutr Res Pract. 12:143-148
  • Rose R, Seger J, Nurko I, Kennel J, Hanks A, Gunther C. Short-Term Campus-Based Dairy Campaign is Effective in Promoting Awareness of Importance of Calcium Intake in College Students. Accepted at Forum for Family and Consumer
  • Rose A, Kennel JA, Hanks A, Gunther C. (2018) Milk vending does not improve college students’ milk and calcium intakes. Health Promot Pract. 19:295-3021   
  • Hopkins LC, Hooker N, Gunther C. (2017) Securing a Stop to the Summer Setback: Policy Considerations in the Future Potential Expansion of the Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer for Children. J Nutr Ed Behav. 49:692-699.e1
  • Rogers C, Anderson S, Dollahite J, Miller C, Pratt K, Gunther C. Methods and Design of a 10-Week Multi-Component Family Meals Intervention: a Two Group Quasi-Experimental Effectiveness Trial. (2017) BMC Public Health. 17:50.
  • Martinez Y, Banna JC, Bellajos M, Bruhn C, Cluskey M, Gunther C, Hongu N, Johnston P, Misner S, Reicks M, Richards R, Wong SS. (2016) Evaluation of messages to promote intake of calcium-rich foods in early adolescents. Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship. 9:110-120.
  • Hopkins LC, Fristad M, Goodway JD, Eneli I, Holloman C, Kennel JA, Melnyk B, Gunther C. (2016) Camp NERF: Methods of a theory-based nutrition education recreation and fitness program aimed at preventing unhealthy weight gain in underserved elementary children during summer months. BMC Public Health.16:1-12. 
  • Banna J, Reicks M, Gunther C, Bruhn B, Cluskey M, Richards R, Wong SS, Misner S, Hongu N, Johnston NP. (2016) Perceived effects of emotion-based messages on motivation of Hispanic and Asian parents of early adolescents to engage in calcium-rich food and beverage parenting practices. Nutr Res Pract. 10:456-463. 
  • Reicks M, Banna J, Cluskey M, Gunther C, Hongu NK, Richards R, Topham G, Wong SS. (2015) Influence of parenting practices on eating behaviors of early adolescents during independent eating occasions: implications for obesity prevention. Nutrients. 7:8783-8801.
  • Hopkins LC, Gunther C. (2015) A Historical Review of Changes in Nutrition Standards of USDA Child Meal Programs Relative to Research Findings on the Nutritional Adequacy of Program Meals and the Diet and Nutritional Health of Participants: Implications for Future Research and the Summer Food Service Program. Nutrients. 7:10145-10167.
  • Gunther C, Rose A, Bruhn C, Cluskey M, Reicks MM, Richards R, Wong SS, Boushey CJ, Misner S, Olson B. (2015) Parents’ Calcium Knowledge Is Associated with Parental Practices to Promote Calcium Intake among Parents of Early Adolescent Children. Journal of Extension [On-line], 53(4) Article 6IAW4.
  • Monnat LE, Kennel J, Holloman C, Kaye G, Gunther C. (2014) Determining the feasibility of milk vending machines to improve calcium intake among college students. Journal of Human Sciences and Extension. 2:1-14.
  • Richards R, Reicks M, Wong SS, Gunther C, Cluskey M, Ballejos M, Bruhn C, Johnston NP, Misner S, Watters C. (2014) Identification of parental benefits derived from practices that promote intake of calcium-rich foods and beverages among early adolescent children. J Nutr Educ Behav. 46:595-601.
  • Rose A, Wagner A, Kennel J, Pennywitt J, Battista-Hesse M, Miller C, Murray R, Rogers K, Gunther C. (2014) Determining the feasibility and acceptability of a nutrition education and cooking program for preschoolers and their families delivered over the dinner hour in a low-income day care setting. ICAN: Infant, Child, and Adolescent Nutrition. 6:144-151.
  • Failla M, Gunther C. (2013) Feeding the development of underrepresented groups.International Innovation: Healthcare, August 2013 (Research Media, UK, pp 45-47), ISSN 2051-8501. 
  • Gunther C, Branscum P, Kennel JA, Klein E, Monnat L, Kaye G. (2013) Examination of the Relationship of Dairy Product Consumption and Dietary Calcium with Body Mass Index Percentile in Children. International Journal of Child Health and Nutrition. 2:1-8.
  • Reicks M, Degeneffe D, Ghosh K, Bruhn C, Goodell SL, Gunther C, Auld G, Ballejos M, Boushey C, Cluskey M, Misner S, Olson B, Wong SS, Zaghloul S. (2012) Parent calcium-rich-food practices/perceptions are associated with calcium intake among parents and their early adolescent children. Public Health Nutr 15:331-340. 
  • Reicks MM, Ballejos ME, Goodell SL, Gunther C, Richards R, Wong SS, Auld G, Boushey CJ, Bruhn C, Cluskey M, Misner S, Olson B, Zaghloul S. (2011) Personal and family correlates of calcium-rich food intake among parents of early adolescent children. J Am Diet Assoc. 111:376-384.