I am a Colombian citizen living in the US since August 2006, when I came to conduct my master’s studies in public health at Saint Louis University. I was born in Bogota, a highly cultural and urbanised city which is ‘2,600 meters closer to the stars’. I graduated in 2001.
Growing up in a tropical country, I took for granted the large variety of fruits and vegetables that are grown and can be found at affordable prices all year round. However, moving to the United States showed me a different reality, one where prices of fruits and vegetables are high compared with Colombia, and where I can only find certain in-season fruits and vegetables. I always had a special interest in nutrition and its relation to health, but it was not until I moved to the US that I started developing a greater interest in nutrition and the social and environmental determinants that create disparities in nutrition related chronic diseases like diabetes and obesity.
After obtaining my master’s degree in public health, I continued with my doctoral studies at Washington University in St. Louis and currently am a PhD candidate. I am studying the prevalence and determinants of the dual burden of malnutrition in Colombia. I have witnessed this problem first-hand in Colombia, particularly among vulnerable and disenfranchised populations. It is my hope that results from my dissertation work can help guide control and reduction of the growing malnutrition problems of my country, especially those related to overweight and obesity among women.