Susan Barr

Susan Barr

Professor Emerita, Food Nutrition & Health


FNH 244, 2205 East Mall

University of Minnesota, 1982, PhD, Human Nutrition

University of British Columbia, 1976, BHE, Home Economics

At the broadest level, my research interests relate to how women’s cognitions about food, eating, and body weight may have physiological implications for their health. In the eating attitudes area, I have a particular interest in cognitive dietary restraint, which reflects the perception that food intake is constantly being limited in an effort to control body weight. The perceptual nature of restraint and similar eating attitudes is key, as food intake and relative weight are generally similar between groups of women with high versus low scores for restraint. We have shown that high levels of cognitive dietary restraint are associated with subclinical menstrual disturbances: In addition to implications for fertility, these disturbances are associated with bone loss in premenopausal women. We have also found that women with negative eating attitudes have slightly higher blood pressure. We hypothesize that dietary restraint and similar eating attitudes may be a subtle but frequently-encountered stressor, leading to changes in hormones that can influence health outcomes.

I also have an interest in dietary policy. I was involved in the development of the Dietary Reference Intakes (nutrient reference standards for Canada and the United States), and have also been a member of Health Canada committees working on revision of Canada’s Food Guide and on dietary sodium reduction. Finally, I have an interest in dietary practices and dietary survey data. Recent work in this area has examined the contribution of breakfast to nutrient adequacy of Canadians, and the perceptions and practices of Canadians with regard to milk product intake.

  • Sport Nutrition (undergraduate)
  • Current Issues in Applied Nutrition (graduate)

Barr SI, DiFrancesco L, Fulgoni VL III. Associations of breakfast consumption with nutrient intakes and nutrient adequacy of Canadian children. British Journal of Nutrition (in press, accepted July 7, 2014).

Yang PHW, Black JL, Barr SI, Vatanparast H. Examining differences in nutrient intake and dietary quality on weekdays versus weekend days in Canada. Applied Physiology Nutrition and Metabolism (accepted June 23, 2014).

Watts AW, Mâsse LC, Barr SI, Lovato CY, Hanning RM. Parent-child associations in selected food group and nutrient intakes among overweight and obese adolescents. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 2014;114(10):1580-1586.

Li D, Hitchcock CL, Barr SI, Yu T, Prior JC. Subclinical ovulatory disturbances and negative changes in bone mineral density – a meta-analysis of prospective data in premenopausal women. Epidemiological Reviews 2014;36(1):137-147.doi: 10.1093/epirev/mxt012. Available at:

Trumbo PR, Barr SI, Murphy SP, Yates AA. Dietary Reference Intakes: Cases of appropriate and inappropriate uses. Nutrition Reviews 2013; 71(10):657-664.

Barr SI, DiFrancesco L, Fulgoni VL III. Associations of breakfast consumption with nutrient intakes and nutrient adequacy in adult Canadians. Journal of Nutrition 2013;143(1):86-92. doi: 10.3945/​jn.112.167098 Available at:

Murphy SP, Barr SI. Steps forward in assessing populations. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2013;97:1-2, doi:10.3945/ajcn.112.053652Editorial (peer-reviewed).

Barr SI. Perceived lactose intolerance in adult Canadians: a national survey. Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism 2013;38(8):830-835,

Green TJ, Li W, Jahani M, Barr SI, Chapman GE. Vitamin D supplementation is associated with higher serum 25OHD in Asian and White infants living in Vancouver, Canada. Maternal and Child Nutrition Article. First published online: 15 OCT 2012 DOI: 10.1111/mcn.12008

Krempien J, Barr SI. Eating attitudes and behaviours in elite Canadian athletes with a spinal cord injury. Eating Behaviours. 2012;13:36-41. Doi:10.1016/j.eatbeh.2011.11.005. Available at:

Bedford JL, Barr SI. Higher urinary sodium, a proxy for intake, is associated with increased calcium excretion and lower hip bone density in healthy young women with lower calcium intakes. Nutrients 2011;3(11):951-961.

Crocker B, Green TJ, Barr SI, Beckingham B, Bhagat R, Dabrowska B, Douthwaite, Evanson C, Friesen R, Hydamaka K, Li W, Simmons K, Tse L. Very high vitamin D supplementation rates among infants aged 2 months in Vancouver and Richmond, British Columbia, Canada. BMC Public Health 2011,11:905. doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-905. Available at

Krempien J, Barr SI. Risk of nutrient inadequacies in elite Canadian athletes with spinal cord injury. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab 2011;21:417-425.

Murphy SP, Barr SI. Practice Paper of the American Dietetic Association: Using the Dietary Reference Intakes. Journal of the American Dietetic Association 2011;111:762-770.

Li W, Green TJ, Innis SM, Barr SI, Whiting SJ, Shand A, von Dedelszen P. Suboptimal vitamin D levels in pregnant women despite supplement use. Can J Pub Health 2011;102:308-312.

Langsetmo L, Hanley DA, Prior JC, Barr SI, Anastassiades T, Towheed T, Goltzman D, Morin S, Poliquin S, Kreiger and the CaMos Research Group . Dietary patterns and incident low-trauma fractures in postmenopausal women and men aged 50 y: a population-based cohort study. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2011;93:192-199. doi:10.3945/ajcn.110.002956.

Bedford JL, Linden W, Barr SI. Negative eating and body attitudes are associated with increased daytime ambulatory blood pressure in healthy young women. International Journal of Psychophysiology 2011;79:147-154.

Bedford JL, Prior JC, Barr SI. A prospective exploration of cognitive dietary restraint, subclinical ovulatory disturbances, cortisol and change in bone density over two years in healthy young women. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 2010;95:3291-9.

Bedford JL, Barr SI. The relationship between 24-hr urinary cortisol and bone in healthy young women. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine 2010;17:207-215. DOI 10.1007/s12529-009-9064-2.

Green TJ, Barr SI, Chapman GE. The majority of older British Columbians use supplements containing vitamin D. Canadian Journal of Public Health 2010;101:246-250.

Barr SI. Reducing dietary sodium intake. The Canadian context. Journal of Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism 2010; 35:1-8.

Rideout CA, Barr SI. Dieting and dietary restraint have different associations with body mass index and disinhibition in postmenopausal women. Journal of the American Dietetic Association 2009;109:890-893.

Barr SI. Calcium and body fat in peripubertal girls: cross-sectional and longitudinal observations. Obesity 2007;15:1302-1310. (Obesity Society Award for Outstanding Journal Article Published in Obesity, 2007).

Murphy SP, Barr SI. Food Guides reflect similarities and differences in dietary guidance in three countries (Japan, Canada, and the United States). Nutrition Reviews 2007;65:141-148.

Rideout CA, McKay HA, Barr SI. Lifetime physical activity and current bone mineral density in healthy postmenopausal women: the importance of teen physical activity. Calc Tiss Int 2006;79:214-222.

Murphy SP, Barr SI, Yates AA. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) should not be abandoned: an individual is both an individual and a member of a group. Nutr Rev 2006;64:313-315.

Rideout CA, Lynden W, Barr SI. High cognitive dietary restraint is associated with increased urinary cortisol excretion in healthy postmenopausal women. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 2006; 61A: 628-633

Murphy SP, Barr SI. Recommended Dietary Allowances should be used to set Daily Values for nutrition labeling. Am J Clin Nutr 2006;83:1223S-1227S..

Barr SI. Introduction to Dietary Reference Intakes. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab 2006;31:61-65.

Barr SI. Applications of Dietary References Intakes in dietary assessment and planning. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab 2006;31:66-73.

Nutrition Research Award (Best published paper in Nutrition Research journal) , 1985

Canadian Dietetic Association Award for Excellence in Scientific Writing , 1990

UBC Killam Award for Teaching Excellence , 1993

Ryley-Jeffs Memorial Lecturer, Dietitians of Canada , 2001

B.C. Nutrition Council's Jackie McConkey-Bridges’ Nutrition Communication Award , 2006

The Obesity Society Award (outstanding journal article published in Obesity) , 2007

American Society for Nutrition

Canadian Nutrition Society

Dietitians of Canada