Zeynep Isgor, PhD

Research Assistant Professor of Health Policy and Administration

Dr. Zeynep Isgor is a research assistant professor in the Division of Health Policy and Administration at the UIC School of Public Health. An economist with training in health economics and microeconometrics, she has worked closely with Dr. Lisa M. Powell on various research projects at IHRP since 2007. She has taught graduate-level courses on health economics, econometrics, and research designs for causal inference in the School of Public Health.

Dr. Isgor is a co-investigator of a study funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies that examines the effects of local taxes on sweetened beverages in Oakland, Calif., and Cook County, Ill. She is also an investigator on a study funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) that monitors and tracks the nutrient content of food and beverage ads on English and Spanish TV during both all-audience and child-audience programming.

For almost a decade, Dr. Isgor has worked on a variety of research projects, funded mostly by the United States Department of Agriculture and, for the Bridging the Gap project, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), investigating nutrition-related environmental influences on youth health behaviors; environmental contextual factors, such as food prices and food outlet and restaurant availability, in relation to youth and adult obesity; and determinants of youth physical activity/inactivity behavior.

Dr. Isgor holds a doctorate in economics from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her dissertation describes a theory-based dynamic model of physical activity behavior that simultaneously reflects biological and psychological aspects of the behavior. This model has the potential to explain disparities observed in adolescent and adult physical activity prevalence in the U.S. over time by demographic and socio-economic characteristics. For this work, Dr. Isgor was awarded the UIC Chancellor’s Graduate Research Fellowship for outstanding multidisciplinary research.

Research Interests

Determinants and mechanisms of the dynamic formation of health-related behaviors such as physical activity/inactivity and dietary intake and habits, relative effects of different types and timing of parental and public sector investments on human capital formation (health, cognitive and non-cognitive skills); community environment related to food and nutrition, associations between food/beverage prices and marketing and food/beverage consumption and weight status; nutrient content of food/beverage ads on TV; effects of local sweetened beverage taxes on food and beverage prices, sales, consumption, prevalence of chronic diseases and obesity, and other relevant outcomes such as individual cross-border shopping behavior and store level advertising behavior.

Recent and Noteworthy Publications

Isgor Z, Powell L, Rimkus L, Chaloupka F. Associations between retail food store exterior advertisements and community demographic and socioeconomic composition. Health Place. 2016 May;39:43-50. [See abstract.]

Ohri-Vachaspati P, Isgor Z, Rimkus L, Powell LM, Barker DC, Chaloupka FJ. Child-directed marketing inside and on the exterior of fast food restaurants. Prev Med. 2015 Jan;48(1):22-30. [See abstract.]

Zenk SN, Powell LM, Rimkus L, Isgor Z, Barker DC, Ohri-Vachaspati P, Chaloupka F. Relative and absolute availability of healthier food and beverage alternatives across communities in the United States. Am J Public Health. 2014;104(11):2170-2178. [See abstract.]

Isgor Z, Powell LM, Wang Y. Multivariable analysis of the association between fathers' and youths' physical activity in the United States. BMC Public Health. 2013;13(1):1075. [See abstract.]

Han E, Powell LM, Isgor Z. Supplemental nutrition assistance program and body weight outcomes: The role of economic contextual factors. Soc Sci Med. 2012;74(12):1874-81. [See abstract.]

Isgor Z, Powell LM. Availability of commercial physical activity facilities and physical activity outside of school among high school students. J Phys Act Health. 2011;8(5):707-15. [See abstract.]

Honors and Awards

The Mitch Krask Award, 2013
Chancellor’s Graduate Research Fellowship, 2010 and 2011
Provost’s Award for Graduate Research, 2011
Graduate Student Presenters Award, University of Illinois at Chicago, 2008
Graduate Student Council Travel Award, University of Illinois at Chicago, 2008