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Student & Alumni Achievements

Student & Alumni Achievements

BU PhD Student Wins Top Prize for Abstract at Reproductive Medicine Conference

Boston University School of Public Health doctoral student Ms. Sydney Willis received a Prize Paper award from the Nutrition Special Interest Group of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) for her abstract titled “Glycemic Load, Dietary Fiber, and Added Sugar and Fecundability in a North American Preconception Cohort.” Her abstract received the top score of all nutrition abstracts submitted to the conference.

Ms. Willis received a certificate and a cash prize at ASRM’s Scientific Congress & Expo on October 8 in Denver, Colo.

A second-year PhD student studying epidemiology, Ms. Willis is particularly interested in nutrition and reproductive outcomes. Her abstract was based on research investigating whether there is an association between women’s diets and their probability of becoming pregnant.

Ms. Willis and her research team used data from Pregnancy Study Online (PRESTO), Boston University’s web-based research study that examines the impact of lifestyle factors on fertility and pregnancy. Participants completed a baseline survey on lifestyle, demographics, and reproductive factors, as well as a food frequency questionnaire, from which Ms. Willis calculated their intake of glycemic load (a ranking of how a person’s carbohydrate intake affects one’s glucose level), fiber, and added sugars.

From that information, Ms. Willis found that diets with a higher glycemic load and higher added sugars were associated with a longer time to pregnancy, while a higher intake of insoluble fiber was associated with a slightly shorter time to pregnancy.

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