Njeri Karanja, PhD


Dr. Njeri Karanja's primary area of research is nutrition and chronic disease prevention, with a focus on minority populations. She has been involved in a number of clinical trials designed to test the efficacy of various dietary strategies on blood pressure reduction. The most notable of these is the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension study (DASH), funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

DASH compared a diet that was high in fruits, vegetables, and low in fat to a typical American diet and a diet only high in fruits and vegetables. The DASH diet lowered blood pressure to the same extent as medication.

Dr. Karanja was the principal investigator on the Portland Women's Intervention Nutrition Study (WINS), a clinical trial to determine the efficacy of dietary fat reduction in addition to systemic adjuvant therapy in the management of patients with invasive breast cancer. She is a co-investigator on the Healthy Moms study, which is testing an intensive weight-management program for obese pregnant women.

Dr. Karanja received an MS in human nutrition and food service management and a PhD in human nutrition from the University of Nebraska. She is a research associate professor of medicine in the division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Clinical Nutrition at Oregon Health & Science University.

Recent Publications

  • Vesco KK, Karanja N, King JC, Gillman MW, Leo MC, Perrin N, McEvoy CT, Eckhardt CL, Smith KS, Stevens VJ. Efficacy of a group-based dietary intervention for limiting gestational weight gain among obese women: A randomized trial. Obesity 2014 Sep;22(9):1989-96. PMCID: PMC4407817 [Available on 2015-09-01]
  • Novotny R, Nigg CR, McGlone K, Renda G, Jung N, Matsunaga M, Karanja N. PacificTracker2-Expert System (PacTrac2-ES) behavioral assessment & intervention tool for the Pacific Kids DASH for Health (PacDASH) study. Food Chemistry Food Chem 2013 Oct 1; 140(3):471-7. [Epub 2012 Nov 19]
  • Karanja N, Aickin M, Lutz TD, Mist S, Jobe JB, Maupome G, Ritenbaugh C. A community-based intervention to prevent obesity beginning at birth among American Indian children: Study design and rationale for the PTOTS Study. The Journal of Primary Prevention 2012 Aug; 33(4):161-74. PMC3490127 [Available on 2013/8/1]
  • Rock CL, Emond J, Flatt SW, Heath DD, Karanja N, Pakiz B, Sherwood N, Thomson CA. Weight loss is associated with increased serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D in overweight or obese women. Obesity 2012 Nov; 20(11):2296-301. [Epub 2012 Mar 8]
  • Thomson C, Morrow KL, Flatt SW, Wertheim BC, Perfect M, Ravia J, Sherwood N, Karanja N, Rock CL. Relationship between sleep quality and quantity and weight loss in women participating in a weight loss intervention trial. Obesity 2012; 20(7):1419-25. [Epub 2012 Mar 8]

Press Release

Community Interventions and In-home Visits May Slow Excess Weight Gain In American Indian Children

Interventions increase breastfeeding & decrease consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, study finds.

Jun 02 2010