Shannon Zenk

Associate professor, health systems science, UIC College of Nursing


Is weight tied to where people live? Shannon Zenk thinks so.

Shannon Zenk, associate professor of health systems science, College of Nursing, fellow, American Academy of Nursing

Shannon Zenk, associate professor of health systems science

“Residents of low-income areas have a higher incidence of obesity and chronic illnesses than those living in higher income neighborhoods,” Zenk said. “Ensuring that residents of these neighborhoods have access to nutritious foods is a critical first step to promoting healthy eating and reversing the obesity epidemic.”

In addition to conducting research on environmental factors and obesity, Zenk has recently expanded her studies to include where individuals spend time, rather than residential neighborhoods alone, and interactions between geographic environments and stress.

Her work has been funded by the National Institute for Nursing Research, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Healthy Eating Research Program, the National Institute of Environmental Sciences and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Throughout her career, Zenk has garnered many accolades. She was named a Fellow by the American Academy of Nursing in 2013, and from 2010-2013 she was designated a Nurse Faculty Scholar by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. In 2011, the Midwest Nursing Research Society bestowed upon her the Harriett Werley New Investigator Award.

Subject Areas:

  • Public Health
  • Obesity
  • Minority Health Issues

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