Hubert Department of Global Health Faculty


Solveig A. Cunningham  

Updated: 10/29/2014    [update]
Assistant Professor (Graduate Faculty)

PhD, MSc

Department of:
Hubert Department of Global Health

Emory University
Department of Global Health
1518 Clifton Road, NE, Room 7045
Atlanta, GA 30322
tel: (404) 727-6486
fax: (404) 727-4590

PhD, Demography and Sociology, 2006, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
MA, Demography, 2003, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
MSc, Development Studies, 2001, London School of Economics & Political Science, UK
BA, International Affairs, 1997, The George Washington University, Washington, DC
Additional Appointment(s):
Affiliated Faculty, Nutrition and Health Sciences
Associated Faculty, Department of Sociology
Courses Taught:
GH 502: Global Health Survey Research Methods
GH 523: Obesity and Society
GH 569: Introduction to Demography for Public Health
Career Overview:

After studying International Affairs, I worked in the non-profit sector promoting the development of electoral systems and civil society, especially in the former Eastern Block. I became increasingly aware of the relevance of economic development, and pursued a Master’s degree in International Development at the London School of Economics and Political Science. While there, I was inspired by the momentous importance of population for development and pursued a PhD in Demography and Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania. There, I increasingly focused on matters pertaining to health, with a focus on how it is affected by family and the social environment. My current research continues on these themes, especially pertaining to obesity.

Areas of Interest/Research:
Adolescent Health/Child Health
Behavior and Health
Global Health
Selected Research Projects:

Childhood Socioeconomic Circumstances and Family Characteristics as Risk Factors for Adult Stroke, Cardiovascular Disease, and Cognitive Decline , NIA (role: Co-I) 01/01/2012 – 01/01/2017

Home Environment and School Going Adolescent's Weight Status in Rural India, NICHD (role:Co-I) 09/15/11 – 09/14/12

Family Life and Child Obesity: Interactions that Matter, NICHD (role: PI) 01/01/2011 – 12/31/2013

Do state-level school nutrition requirements promote healthy eating and weight, NICHD (role: PI) 04/01/2010 – 03/31/2012

Interdisciplinary research training: NCD epidemiology and prevention in India, NHLBI (role: Co-I) 09/15/2009 – 06/30/2014

Selected Publications:
Cunningham, SA
, Kramer MR, Narayan K.
Incidence of childhood obesity in the United States
New England Journal of Medicine
, 370: 401-9, 2014.
Claire C. Maturo and Solveig A. Cunningham.
Influence of Friends on Children’s Physical Activity: A Review.
American Journal of Public Health
, 103, (7): e23-e38, 2013.
Howard, Virginia, Leslie McClure, Maria Glymour; Solveig A. Cunningham, Dawn Kleindorfer, Michael Crowe, Virginia Wadley, Frederick Peace, George Howard, and Daniel T. Lackland.
The Effect of Duration and Age at Exposure to the Stroke Belt on Incident Stroke in Adulthood.
, 80(18): 1655-1661, 2013.
Cunningham, Solveig A, Kathryn M. Yount, Michal Engelman and Emily Agree
Returns on Lifetime Investments in Children in Egypt
, 50(2): 699-724, 2013.
Cunningham, Solveig A., Elizabeth Vaquera, Claire Maturo, K.M. Venkat Narayan
Do friends influence body weight? A systematic review of the evidence
Social Science & Medicine
, 75(7): 1175-83, 2012.
Cunningham, Solveig A., Elizabeth Vaquera and Jeanne L. Long
Race, ethnicity, and the relevance of obesity for social integration
Ethnicity & Disease. Summer
, 22(3): 317-323, 2012.
Oza-Frank, Reena, Zavodny, Madeline and Solveig A. Cunningham.
Beverage displacement between elementary and middle school, 2004-2007
Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
, 112(9): 1390-6, 2012.
Moore, Carla and Solveig A. Cunningham
Social Hierarchy, Psychological Stress, and Obesity: A Systematic Review
Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
, 112(4): 518–526, 2012.
Cunningham, Solveig A. and Madeline Zavodny
Does the Sale of Sweetened Beverages at School Affect Children's Weight?
Social Science & Medicine
, 73(9): 1332-9, 2011.
Cunningham, Solveig A., Fernando Riosmena, Jing Wang, James Patrick Boyle, Deborah B. Rolka, Linda S Geiss
Decreases in diabetes-free life expectancy in the US and the role of obesity.
Diabetes Care
, 34(10): 2225-2230, 2011.
Welsh, Jean A. and Cunningham, Solveig A.
The Role of Added Sugars in Pediatric Obesity
Pediatric Clinics of North America
, 58: 1455–1466, 2011.
Cunningham, Solveig A., Irma T. Elo, Kobus Herbst, and Victoria Hosegood
Prenatal development in rural South Africa: Relationship between birth weight and access to fathers and grandparents
Population Studies
, 64(3): 229-246, 2010.
Cunningham, Solveig A, Kristen Mitchell, K.M. Venkat Narayan, Salim Yusuf
Doctors' Strikes and Mortality: A Review
Social Science & Medicine
, 67: 1784–1788, 2008.
Argeseanu Cunningham, Solveig, K. M. Venkat Narayan, and Julia Dae Ruben
Health of foreign-born people in the United States: A review
Health & Place
, 14(4): 623-35, 2008.
Van den Broeck, Jan, Solveig Argeseanu Cunningham, Roger Eeckels, Kobus Herbst
Data cleaning: Detecting, diagnosing, and editing data abnormalities
Public Library of Science: Medicine
, 2(10): e267, 2005.
Other affiliations and Activities:

I am keenly interested in the social and behavioral elements of health and the interactions between social and biological factors that shape health. My research focuses on child health, especially obesity, and how it is affected by family support, friendship networks, and community resources. Because our understanding of health and how it can be improved relies on the quality of the data we have and the methods we use, I am also passionate about methods for collecting and analyzing scientific information.
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