Meghan Slining

Associate Professor of Health Sciences

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I teach because it brings me in contact with students who are passionate about making the world a better place. I teach public health because it provides a global understanding and a set of practical skills that enables them to do so.

I am a native of Seattle, WA and completed a self-designed major in Multicultural Health Advocacy from Fairhaven College in Bellingham, WA. After graduating I joined the Peace Corps and served as a Health Specialist in rural Honduras for two years. Bitten by the travel bug, I moved to Germany where I taught high school and traveled throughout Western and Eastern Europe for three years. My experiences outside of the US expanded my perspectives on health and wellness and inspired me to return to the US to work with communities to improve health and nutrition, specifically pediatric obesity. I subsequently earned an MS in Food Policy and an MPH in Epidemiology from Tufts University. While at Tufts I taught cooking and nutrition classes to low-income adults and adolescents and conducted obesity research in preschool settings. These experiences ultimately led me to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where I received my PhD in Nutritional Epidemiology. From 2010-2013, I served as an Assistant Professor of Nutrition in the School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In 2013 I accepted a faculty position at Furman University, excited to return to a small, liberal arts setting.

While not at Furman I enjoy cooking, gardening, practicing mindfulness and doing yoga. I am married to Rusty Miller, a 1998 Furman graduate and cycling coach.


  • Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • M.P.H., Tufts University, School of Medicine
  • M.S., Tufts University, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy
  • B.A., Fairhaven College, Western Washington University


Meghan Slining conducts policy relevant, community-based research to improve early life nutritional status. She was first introduced to the significance of early life nutrition as a Peace Corps volunteer in Honduras working closely with caregivers whose children were underweight and undernourished. Her efforts focused on culturally sensitive techniques for adding energy and micronutrients to infants’ diets. This interest shaped her subsequent graduate research at Tufts University with underserved communities in Boston. She worked with pre-school parents and teachers of children with the opposite problem, excess and increasing weight gain. She was particularly struck by how similar were the concerns and fears of the parents in Honduras and Boston. Through both experiences she witnessed the immediate medical and social consequences at either end of the malnutrition spectrum, forging her commitment to improve the nutrition of children across the globe.

Meghan Slining’s research seeks to improve our understanding of the determinants and consequences of overweight, providing sound scientific evidence to support public policy and action aimed at preventing pediatric obesity. Trained as a nutritional epidemiologist, she has published extensively on US child diet and US State regulations related to feeding, physical activity and obesity prevention in early childhood childcare settings. She has also served as the lead academic partner in two community-based participatory research projects in early childhood and faith-based settings. Her current project is a collaboration with LiveWell Greenville intended to advance understanding of scalable obesity prevention interventions in early childhood settings.​


  • Benjamin-Neelon SE, Neelon B, Pearce J, Grossman E, Gonzalez-Nahm S, Slining M, Duffey K, Frost N. State regulations promoting infant physical activity in early care and education. Childhood Obesity. 2018; In press.
  • *Jaacks LM, Slining MM, Popkin BM (2015) Recent trends in the prevalence of under- and overweight among adolescent girls in low- and middle-income countries. Pediatric Obesity Dec;10(6):428-35. doi: 10.1111/ijpo.12000.
  • Slining MM, Yoon EF, Davis J, Hollingsworth B, Miles DR, Ng SW (2015) An approach to monitor food and nutrition from ‘Factory to Fork.’ Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Jan; 115(1):40-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2014.09.002.
  • *Jaacks LM, Slining MM, Popkin BM (2015) Recent underweight and overweight trends among women in low- and middle-income countries. Journal of Nutrition. Feb; 145(2):352-7. doi: 10.3945/jn.114.203562.
  • Slining MM, Benjamin Neelon SE, Duffey KJ (2014) A review of state regulations to promote infant and physical activity in child care settings. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. Nov 22; 11(1):139. doi: 10.1186/s12966-014-0139-3.
  • Benjamin Neelon SE, Duffey KJ, Slining MM (2014) Regulations to promote healthy sleep practices in child care. Pediatrics. Dec; 134(6):1167-74. doi: 10.1542/peds.2014-0578.
  • Duffey KJ, Slining MM, Benjamin Neelon SE (2014) States lack physical activity policies in child care that are consistent with national recommendations. Childhood Obesity. Dec; 10(6):491-500. doi: 10.1089/chi.2014.0096.
  • Ng, SW, Slining MM, Popkin BM (2014) The Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation Pledge: Calories purchased by US households with children, 2000-2012. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Oct; 47(4):508-519. doi:10.1016/j.ampere.2014.05.029.
  • Mendez, MA, Sotres-Alvarez, D, Miles, DR, Slining, MM, and Popkin, BM. (2014) Shifts in the recent distribution of dietary intake among US children ages 2-18 reflect potential abatement of earlier declining trends. Journal of Nutrition Aug;144(8):1291-7. doi: 10.3945/jn.114.190447.
  • Ng, SW, Slining MM, Popkin BM (2014) A turning point for US diets? Recessionary effects or behavioral shifts in foods purchased and consumed. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Mar;99(3):609-16. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.113.072892.
  • *Poti JM, Slining MM, Popkin BM (2014) Where are kids getting their empty calories? Stores, schools and fast-food restaurants each played an important role in empty calorie intake among US children during 2009-2010. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics June; 114(6):908-17. doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2013.08.012.
  • Popkin BM, Slining MM. (2013) New dynamics in global obesity facing low- and middle-income countries. Obesity Reviews. Nov;14 Suppl 2:11-20. doi: 10.1111/obr.12102.
  • *Poti J, Slining MM, Popkin, BM. (2013) Solid fat and added sugar intake among U.S. children: the role of stores, schools and fast food, 1994-2010. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Nov; 45(5):551-9. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2013.06.013.
  • Slining MM, Mathias KC, Popkin BM. (2013) Trends in food and beverage sources among US children and adolescents 1989-2010. Journal of Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Dec; 113(12): 1683-94. doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2013.06.001.
  • Slining MM, Popkin BM. (2013) Trends in intakes and sources of solid fats and added sugars among US children and adolescents: 1994-2010. Pediatric Obesity Aug; 8(4): 307-24. doi: 10.1111/j.2047-6310.2013.00156.x
  • *Mathias KC, Slining MM, Popkin, BM (2013) Foods and Beverages Associated with Higher Sugar Sweetened Beverage Intake. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 44(4):351-7. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2012.11.036
  • Slining, MM, Ng SW, Popkin BM (2013) Food companies’ calorie-reduction pledges to improve U.S. diet. American Journal of Preventive Medicine44(2):174–184. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2012.09.064
  • *Ford C, Slining, MM, Popkin, BM. (2013) Trends in dietary intake among US children ages 2-6, 1989-2008. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 2013; 113:35-42. doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2012.08.022
  • Slining MM, Herring AH, Popkin BM, Mayer-Davis EJ and Adair LS. (2013) Infant BMI trajectories are associated with young adult body composition. Journal of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease, February 1; 4(1): 56–68. doi:10.1017/S2040174412000554.
  • Ng SW, Slining MM, Popkin BM. (2012) Use of caloric and non-caloric sweeteners in US Consumer Packaged Foods, 2005-9. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 2012; 1828-1834. doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2012.07.009.
  • Slining MM, Kuzawa CW, Mayer-Davis EJ, Adair LS. (2011) Evaluating the indirect effect of infant weight velocity on insulin resistance in young adulthood: birth cohort study from the Philippines. American Journal of Epidemiology Mar 15;173(6):640-8. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwq435.
  • Wasser H, Bentley M, Borja J, Davis Goldman B, Adair L, Thompson A, Slining M. (2011) Infants perceived as 'fussy' are more likely to receive complementary foods before 4 months of age. Pediatrics Feb;127(2):229-37. doi: 10.1542/peds.2010-016.
  • Yaemsiri S, Slining MM, Agarwal SK. (2011) Perceived weight status, overweight diagnosis, and weight control among US adults: The NHANES 2003-2008 Study.  The International Journal of Obesity. Aug; 35(8):1063-70. doi: 10.1038.ijo.2010.229.
  • Slining, MM, Adair, LS, Borja, J, Goldman, B, Bentley, M. (2010) Infant overweight is associated with motor development. J Pediatrics, Jul; 157(1):20-25.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2009.12.054.
  • Cradock AL, O’Donnell EM, Benjamin SE, Walker E, Slining M. (2010). A Review of State Regulations to Promote Physical Activity and Safety on Playgrounds in Child Care Centers and Family Child Care Homes. Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 2010, 7(Suppl 1), S108-S119.
  • Yaemsiri S, Hou N, Slining MM, He K. (2010) Growth rate of human fingernails and toenails in healthy American young adults.J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. Apr;24(4):420-3. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-3083.2009.03426.x.
  • Slining, M., Adair, L., Borja, J., Goldman, B., Bentley, M. (2009) Infant temperament contributes to early infant growth: A prospective cohort of African American infants followed from 3 to 18 months of age. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, Aug 5; 6:51. doi: 10.1186/1479-5868-6-51.
  • Benjamin SE, Taveras EM, Cradock A, Walker E, Slining MM, Gillman MW. (2009)  State and regional variation in regulations related to feeding infants in child care.  Pediatrics. Jul;124(1):e104-11. doi: 10.1542/peds.2008-3668.
  • Benjamin SE, Copeland KA, Cradock A, Neelon B, Walker EM, Slining M,and Gillman MW. (2009) Menus in child care: a comparison of state regulations with national standards.  J Am Diet Assoc. Jan; 109(1)109-115.doi: 10.1016/j.jada.2008.10.015.
  • Benjamin SE, Cradock A, Walker EM, Slining M, and Gillman MW. (2008) Obesity prevention in child care: A review of U.S. State regulations.  BMC Public Health, May 30; 8:188. doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-8-188.
  • Slining M, Dawson G, Hacker K. (2009) Is there a relationship between physical fitness and academic achievement?  Positive results from public school children in the northeastern U.S.  Journal of School Health. Jan;79(1):30-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1746-1561.2008.00371.x.​