Mary Ann Johnson

Health Policy & Management, Institute of Gerontology
Adjunct Professor
Associate Director, Institute of Gerontology

Health Policy & Management, Institute of Gerontology

Dr. Johnson develops, implements and evaluates interventions to enhance wellbeing of older adults. With local, state, and federal funding, Dr. Johnson’s nutrition and health interventions reach diverse populations of older adults, particularly those with low-incomes, living in rural areas, and in need of food assistance. Current projects include workforce training to implement the Standard Medical Expense Deduction to increase the amount of benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for older and disabled adults. She also collaborates with Georgia’s aging network to implement fall prevention and chronic disease self-management programs in community settings.

  • Education

    PhD, Nutritional Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1983

    BA, Chemistry, University of Northern Iowa, 1979

  • More About

    Flatt Professor in Foods and Nutrition, College of Family and Consumer Sciences

  • Areas of Expertise

    Teaching: nutrition, food policy, aging, obesity, chronic disease

  • Honors, Awards, and Achievements

    Flatt Professor in Foods and Nutrition, UGA, 2008-present

    Creswell Award, UGA, Alumni Association, College and Family Consumer Sciences, 2014

    Teacher of the Year, UGA Department of Foods and Nutrition, 2010

  • Affiliations

    American Society for Nutrition, President, 2017-2018

    Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

    Institute of Food Technologists

    Gerontological Society of America

  • Course Instruction

    FDNS 4600/6600 Food and Nutrition Policy

    FDNS 6240e Nutrition and Obesity Across the Lifespan

    FDNS 8560 Proposal Writing

    Dr. Johnson teaches courses in food and nutrition policy, aging, chronic diseases, obesity, and proposal writing. Courses emphasize the importance of research process in informing public policy and guidelines for practitioners.

  • Research Interests

    Dr. Johnson conducts research and outreach programs for older people to improve dietary habits, food security, physical activity, and self-management of chronic diseases. She also studies centenarians, aged 100 and older, to identify nutrition-related factors related to health and well being in late life.

  • Selected Publications

    Tanprasertsuk J, Li B, Bernstein PS, Vishwanathan R, Johnson MA, Poon L, Johnson EJ. Relationship between concentrations of lutein and StARD3 among pediatric and geriatric human brain tissue. PLoS One. 2016 May 20;11(5):e0155488.

    Lay WA, Vickery CR, Ward-Ritacco CL, Johnson KB, Berg AC, Evans EM, Johnson MA. Comparison of intake of animal and plant foods and related nutrients in postmenopausal breast cancer survivors and controls. J Nutr Gerontol Geriatr. 2016;35(1):15-31.

    Porter Starr K, Fischer JG, Johnson MA. Eating behaviors, mental health, and food intake are associated with obesity in older congregate meal participants. J Nutr Gerontol Geriatr. 2014;33(4):340-56.

    Haslam A, Johnson MA, Hausman DB, Cress ME, Houston DK, Davey A, Poon LW; Georgia Centenarian Study: vitamin D status is associated with grip strength in centenarians. J Nutr Gerontol Geriatr. 2014;33(1):35-46.

    Johnson MA, Bales CW. Is there a best body mass index for older adults? Moving closer to evidence-based recommendations regarding “overweight,” health, and mortality. J Nutr Gerontol Geriatr. 2014;33(1):1-9.

    Johnson EJ, Vishwanathan R, Johnson MA, Hausman DB, Davey A, Scott TM, Green RC, Miller LS, Gearing M, Woodard J, Nelson PT, Chung HY, Schalch W, Wittwer J, Poon LW. Relationship between serum and brain carotenoids, α-tocopherol, and retinol concentrations and cognitive performance in the oldest old from the Georgia Centenarian Study. J Aging Res. 2013;2013:951786.

    Volpi E, Campbell WW, Dwyer JT, Johnson MA, Jensen GL, Morley JE, Wolfe RR. Is the optimal level of protein intake for older adults greater than the recommended dietary allowance? J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2013 Jun;68(6):677-81.

    Johnson MA. Strategies to improve diet in older adults. Proc Nutr Soc. 2013 Feb;72(1):166-72.

    Porter KN, Johnson MA. Obesity is more strongly associated with inappropriate eating behaviors than with mental health in older adults receiving congregate meals. J Nutr Gerontol Geriatr. 2011;30(4):403-15.