Profile

 


Mary R. L'Abbé, Ph.D.
Earle W. McHenry Professor and Chair
Department of Nutritional Sciences

Ph: (416) 978-7235; Fax: (416) 971-2366
Cell: (416) 605-1902
Website: http://labbelab.utoronto.ca
mary.labbe@utoronto.ca



Primary Affiliations:

  • Dept. of Nutritional Sciences

Other Affiliations:

Education/Degrees:

  • Ph.D. Nutrition, McGill University, 1988

Awards and Recognition (past 5 years):

  • 2014 World Hypertension League Notable Achievement in Dietary Salt Reduction Awardee, World Hypertension League, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom
  • 2012 Earle W. Crampton Award for Leadership in Nutrition, McGill University
  • 2011 Certificate of Excellence Award for contributions in reducing dietary sodium in Canada and internationally, Hypertension Canada
  • 2010 Earle Willard McHenry Award for Distinguished Service in Nutrition, Canadian Nutrition Society

Professional Memberships:

International Committees (Present):


  • World Health Organization (WHO) Global Coordination Mechanism on the Prevention and Control of NCDs
  • Chair, PAHO/WHO Technical Advisory Group on Cardiovascular Disease Prevention through Dietary Salt/sodium Reduction
  • International Obesity Task Force, International Network for Food and Obesity/NCDs Research, Monitoring and Action Support (INFORMAS)
  • World Obesity Federation, Scientific and Technical Advisory Network
  • WHO Nutrition Guidance Expert Advisory Group (NUGAG) and member of the Diet and Health sub-committee

National Committees (Present):


  • Council on Mission: Priorities, Advice, Science and Strategy (CoMPASS), Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada

External Reviewer for Granting Agencies (Present):


  • College of Reviewers, CIHR Foundation Grants

Membership and Participation in Scientific Committees (Present):


  • Canadian Nutrition Society (CNS)
  • American Society for Nutrition (ASN)
  • Dietitians of Canada (DC)
  • Canadian Obesity Network (CON)
  • Partnership for Advancing Nutritional and Dietary Assessment in Canada (PANDA-C)

Serve on several University of Toronto scientific, administrative and executive committees


Research:

My Food and Nutrition Policy for Population Health research program provides an evidence base to support public health nutrition policy in areas such as health claims on foods, front-of-pack labelling, children's marketing on foods, nutritional quality of packaged and restaurant foods, menu labelling, food fortification, food-like natural health products, trans fat, sodium, and sugar. Research approaches include: (i) consumer surveys on knowledge, attitudes and behaviours related to foods and nutrition; (ii) assessing the nutritional quality of Canadian foods; (iii) the development and evaluation of mobile apps to motivate and enable consumers to improve their dietary intakes; and (iv) developing methods for, assessing, and modelling population intakes using national food consumption surveys. My group has developed two large national food databases which have been used to answer a number of policy related research questions, and also serve as the basis of our consumer apps.

Current Students:

  • Marie-Eve Labonte, Post Doctoral Fellow, "Evaluation of nutrient profiling methods for public health nutrition and nutrition regulation"
  • Beatriz Franco Arellano, PhD student, "Regulating nutrition interpretative claims on food packaging: The potential benefits to population health by influencing changes in dietary intake towards healthy-eating habits"
  • Jodi Bernstein, PhD student, "Evaluating the quantity and type of sugars in the diets of Canadians"
  • Mahsa Jessri, PhD student, "Association of major dietary patterns with obesity and chronic disease risk in the Canadian population"
  • Mary Scourboutakos, PhD student, "Restaurants, fast-food and interventions to promote healthy eating when eating-out"
  • Mavra Ahmed, PhD student, "Development and Validation of Mobile App Technology for Dietary Assessments"
  • Sheida Noorhosseini, MSc student, "PAUSE - Prevalence and consumer attitudes, understanding, and use of supplemented foods in Canada"
  • Min Ah Kim, 3rd year research project, "Investigation of the use of partially hydrogenated vegetable oils in Canadian foods"
  • Christine Mulligan, 3rd year research project, "Nutrient Profiling of foods marketed to children"
  • Alyssa Schermel, MSc, Research Assistant

Recent Publications:

See PubMed for full list


  • Jessri M, Lou WY, L'Abbe MR. 2015. Evaluation of different methods to handle misreporting in obesity research: evidence from the Canadian national nutrition survey. Br J Nutr. 2016 Jan;115(1):147-59. doi: 10.1017/S0007114515004237. Epub 2015 Nov 2.
  • Schermel A, Wong CL, L'Abbe MR. 2015. Are Foods with Fat-Related Claims Useful for Weight Management? Appetite. 2015 Sep 8;96:154-159. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2015.09.003. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 26362994
  • Jessri M, L'Abbe MR. 2015. The time for an updated Canadian Food Guide has arrived. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab 40: 1–4 (2015) dx.doi.org/10.1139/apnm-2015-0046. Epub 2015 Jul 9.
  • Poelman MP, Eyles H, Dunford E, Schermel A, L'Abbe MR, Neal B, Seidell JC, Steenhuis IH, Ni Mhurchu C. Package size and manufacturer-recommended serving size of sweet beverages: a cross-sectional study across four high-income countries. Public Health Nutr. 2015 Jul 7:1-9. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 26148431
  • Campbell N, Legowski B, Legetic B, Nilson E, L'Abbé M. 2015. Inaugural maximum values for sodium in processed food products in the Americas. J Clin Hypertens (Greenwich). 2015 Aug;17(8):611-3 PMID: 25903047
  • Vandevijvere S, Swinburn B. for the International Network for Food and Obesity/non-communicable diseases (NCDs) Research, Monitoring and Action Support (INFORMAS). Pilot test of the Healthy Food Environment Policy Index (Food-EPI) to increase government actions for creating healthy food environments. BMJ Open. 2015 Jan 9;5(1):e006194. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2014-006194. PMID: 25575874.
  • Scourboutakos MJ, Semnani-Azad Z, L'Abbe MR. 2015. Added Sugars in Kids' Meals from Chain Restaurants. Prevent Med Rep EPub Available Online 1 Dec 2014. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2211335514000163
  • Emrich TE, Qi Y, Cohen JE, Lou WY, L'Abbe MR. 2015. Front-of-pack symbols are not a reliable indicator of products with healthier nutrient profiles. Appetite 2015; 84(1): 148-153. (featured on www.foodnavigator.com)
  • Scourboutakos MJ, L'Abbe MR. 2014. Changes in sodium levels in chain restaurant foods in Canada (2010-2013): a longitudinal study. Can Med Assoc J Open 2014 Oct 1;2(4):E343-51. doi: 10.9778/cmajo.20140028. PMID: 25553327
  • Scourboutakos MJ, Corey PN, Mendoza J, Henson SJ, L'Abbé MR. 2014. Restaurant menu-labelling: Is it worth adding sodium to the label? Can J Public Health, 2014; 31;105(5): e354-61. PMID: 25365270
  • Fitzpatrick L, Arcand J, L'Abbe MR, Deng M, Duhaney T, Campbell NRC. 2014. Accuracy of Canadian Food Labels for Sodium Content of Food. Nutrients 2014; 22; 6(8):3326-35.
  • Arcand J, Au JT, Schermel A, L'Abbe MR. A comprehensive analysis of sodium levels in the Canadian packaged food supply. Am J Prev Med 2014;46(6):633-42. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2014.01.012. PMID: 24842740
  • Arcand J, Scourboutakos MJ, Au JT, L'Abbe MR. 2014 Trends in trans fatty acids in the Canadian food supply: an updated analysis. Am J Clin Nutr 2014;100(4):1116-23. Epub 2014 Aug 6
  • Ratnayake WMN, L'Abbé MR, Farnworth S, Dumais L. et al. 2009. Trans- fatty acids: Current contents in Canadian foods and estimated intake levels for the Canadian population. J. AOAC Int 2009;92:1258-77

Recent Published Government/Agency Reports and/or reports submitted to government:

  • L'Abbe MR. Written comments to Health Canada on Canada Gazette, Part I proposal to revise the Nutrition Labelling Regulations. (August 2015); Written comments to Health Canada on proposed revisions to the Nutrition Labelling Regulations (September 2014); written comments on Proposed Revisions to Schedule M reference amounts. (August 2014)
  • WHO Guideline on Sugars intake for adult and children. Geneva, World Health Organization (WHO), 2015. Available at: http://www.who.int/nutrition/publications/guidelines/sugars_intake/en/
  • WHO Guideline: Sodium intake for adults and children*. Geneva, World Health Organization (WHO), 2012. Available at: http://www.who.int/nutrition/publications/guidelines/sodium_intake_printversion.pdf
  • WHO Guideline: Potassium intake for adults and children*. Geneva, World Health Organization (WHO), 2012. Available at: http://www.who.int/nutrition/publications/guidelines/potassium_intake_printversion.pdf
  • PAHO/WHO Technical Advisory Group on Salt Reports: (i) A Guide for Setting Targets and Timelines to reduce the Salt content of food* 2013; (ii) Improving Public Health in the Americas by Optimizing Sodium and Iodine Intakes.2013; (iii) Survey on knowledge, attitude and behaviour toward dietary salt and health protocol. 2012; (iv) Questionnaire on Knowledge, Attitudes, Behaviour toward Dietary Salt and Health. http://www.paho.org/hq/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2015&Itemid=4024&lang=en
  • WPAHO/WHO Expert Group on Cardiovascular Disease Prevention through Population-wide Dietary Salt Reduction Reports: (i) PAHO Salt Smart Americas- Guide for Action in the Countries*. 2013 (ii) White Paper on Improving Public Health by Optimizing Salt and Iodine Intakes. 2011; (iii) WHO/PAHO Regional Expert Group for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention through Population-Wide Dietary Salt Reduction - Final Report*. 2011; (vi) Protocol for Population Level Sodium Determination in 24-Hour Urine Samples 2010; (v) A Review of Methods to Determine the Main Sources of Salt in the Diet* 2010; (v) Questionnaire on Knowledge, Attitudes, Behaviour toward Dietary Salt and Health. 2010.
  • Emrich TE, L'Abbe MR. (2014) Nutrition Labelling Education Research Synthesis. Report submitted to Office Nutrition Policy and Promotion, Health Canada (January 2014).

Consumer Tools and Apps:



 

 

Address

Department of Nutritional Sciences
Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto
FitzGerald Building
150 College Street, Room 315
Toronto, ON M5S 3E2