Sara grew up with her twin sister and older brother in the Waverly neighborhood of Baltimore City. Both of her parents were public school teachers. When Sara was young, her mother became a full-time mother of 3, and her family received support from SNAP and WIC.
Sara's parents instilled the habits of healthy eating and exercise from a young age. They were only ever allowed to drink water and milk. Dinner every night was always a home cooked meal with vegetables. And her dad did daily exercises on the living room floor while her mom woke up early in the morning to go out for a walk. They also ate all kinds of unusual foods like tofu ice cream! Sara has brought these habits to her own family, sitting with her daughters every night for dinner and going out for a walk every day. Dinner at her house always includes vegetables, and sometimes the vegetables come from the garden in their backyard. We're not sure what her daughters think of tofu ice cream, though.
Healthy food and nutrition has been such an important part of Sara's life that she made it into her career. She also recalls from an early age being interested in addressing how unfair it was that some people had the opportunity to eat healthy and others did not. Today, she's a policy expert and researcher who specializes in diet-related diseases, food and nutrition security, and racial inequality. She has a Bachelor's degree from Columbia and a PhD from Harvard and has published over 175 papers. She has worked as a professor at Harvard and as an adviser to First Lady Michelle Obama. In 2021, she was appointed by President Biden to work on nutrition security at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
"When I look back on my life," she says, "I hope that I have meaningfully improved nutrition security in a big way, especially for communities of Color."
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