Noreen Willows

Professor, Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sci - Ag, Food & Nutri Sci Dept


Professor, Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sci - Ag, Food & Nutri Sci Dept
(780) 492-3989
4-378 Edmonton Clinic Health Academy
11405 - 87 Ave NW
Edmonton AB
T6G 1C9




PhD, Human Nutrition, McGill University

Job/Research Area 

Community Nutrition 


7-year (2010-2017) Health Scholar award from Alberta Innovates Health Solutions to engage in Population Health Intervention Research to Enhance Community Food Security in First Nation Communities in Alberta. 

2015 named by the Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science as one of the “Teachers of the Year”  

A 2015 research article was singled out as an example of “Creativity and Innovation in Nutrition Education” by the 2014-2015 President of the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior (SNEB), which represents the professional interests of nutrition educators in the United States and worldwide 

2013 recipient of the Centrum Foundation New Scientist Award of the Canadian Nutrition Society for outstanding research in nutrition 

2013 plaque recipient for contributions to improving the wellbeing of Alberta’s children, youth and family at Alberta Centre for Child, Family & Community Research 10th Anniversary Research Showcase


Major Responsibilities/Research Interests 

Noreen Willows has a PhD in Human Nutrition from McGill University and degrees in Archaeology (MA) and Anthropology (BSc with distinction) from the University of Calgary. She is Associate Professor of Community Nutrition at the University of Alberta. Dr. Willows considers herself to be a nutritional anthropologist. She uses anthropological, qualitative and quantitative methodologies for studying key aspects of the nutrition of individuals, families, and communities. Her research program explores the relationships between food and health; cultural meanings of food and health; how food beliefs and dietary practices affect the well-being of communities; and, how socio-cultural factors affect food intake and food selection. She takes a community-based, participatory approach to research, in which she collaborates respectfully with community members to find solutions to health problems. Her research focuses predominantly on First Nations communities. Currently, she is working with First Nations communities in Alberta, British Columbia and Quebec to help address their food security and nutrition concerns. Recent research has been funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Alberta Centre for Child, Family and Community Research. It is collaborate research with First Nation communities to (1) gain information about food security to form the development of tailored, community-based interventions, and (2) to build community capacity to alleviate food insecurity. In addition, Dr. Willows has addressed key knowledge gaps about the food security situation of postsecondary students at the University of Alberta.


AFNS 900 - Directed Research Project (Course-based Masters)

Individual study supervised by the student's supervisor, requiring the preparation of a comprehensive report, presentation of a seminar and oral examination by the student's supervisor and one additional faculty member.

NU FS 377 - Introduction to Population and Public Health Nutrition

Community nutrition is the application of public health principles to design programs, interventions, policies and environments that aim to achieve the optimal health of populations and targeted groups. The course will introduce students to concepts used in the fields of community, public health and global nutrition including the principles of population health, health promotion, nutrition education, cultural competency, and program planning and evaluation. Prerequisites: NU FS 223 and (NU FS 305 or NUTR 301). May contain alternative delivery sections: refer to the Tuition and Fees page in the University Regulations section of the Calendar.

Browse more courses taught by Noreen Willows


Analysis Grid for Environments Linked to Obesity (ANGELO) framework to develop community‐driven health programmes in an Indigenous community in Canada

Author(s): Willows N, Dyck Fehderau D, Raine KD
Publication Date: 2016
Publication: Health & Social Care in the Community
Volume: 24
Issue: 5
Page Numbers: 567-575

Tradition and transformation of Eastern James Bay Eeyou (Cree) foodways in pregnancy: implications for health care

Author(s): Vallianatos H, Willows ND
Publication Date: 2016
Publication: Indigenous Peoples: perspectives, cultural roles and health care disparities
Page Numbers: Chapter 3, 71-106

A public policy advocacy project to promote food security: exploring stakeholders’ experiences

Author(s): Atkey KM, Raine KD, Storey KE, Willows ND
Publication Date: 2016
Publication: Health Promotion Practice
Volume: 17
Issue: 5
Page Numbers: 623-630

Filling a need: sociodemographic and educational characteristics among student clients of a University-based campus food bank

Author(s): Hanbazaza M, Ball GD, Farmer A, Maximova K, Willows ND
Publication Date: 2016
Publication: Journal of Hunger and Environmental Nutrition
Volume: 11
Issue: 4
Page Numbers: 569-577

Food sources of calcium vary by ethnicity and geography

Author(s): Willows, N
Publication Date: 2016
Publication: Calcium: chemistry, analysis, function and effects. Victor Preedy, editor
Page Numbers: Chapter 3, 30-45

A school gardening and healthy snack program increased Aboriginal First Nations children's preferences toward vegetables and fruit

Author(s): Triador L, Farmer A, Maximova K, Willows N, Kootenay J
Publication Date: 2015
Publication: Journal of nutrition education and behavior
Volume: 47
Issue: 2
Page Numbers: 176-180

Partnering with Indigenous student co-researchers: improving research processes and outcomes

Author(s): Genuis SK, Willows N, Alexander First Nation, Jardine CG
Publication Date: 2015
Publication: International Journal of Circumpolar Health
Volume: 74
Issue: Jul 27
Page Numbers: 27838

How do student clients of a university-based food bank cope with food insecurity?

Author(s): Farahbakhsh J, Ball GD, Farmer AP, Maximova K, Hanbazaza M, Willows ND
Publication Date: 2015
Publication: Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice and Research
Volume: 76
Issue: 4
Page Numbers: 200-203

Dietary Sodium Intakes and Food Sources of Sodium in Canadian-Born and Asian-Born Individuals of Chinese Ethnicity at a Canadian University Campus

Author(s): Yu YH, Farmer A, Mager D, Willows N
Publication Date: 2014
Publication: Journal of American College Health
Volume: 62
Issue: 4
Page Numbers: 278-284

Feasibility study of asset mapping with children: identifying how the community environment shapes activity and food choices in Alexander First Nation

Author(s): Dyck Fehderau D, Holt NL, Ball GD, Alexander First Nation, Willows ND
Publication Date: 2013
Publication: Rural and Remote Health
Volume: 13
Issue: 2
Page Numbers: 2289

Nutritional concerns of Aboriginal infants and children in remote and northern Canadian communities: Problems and therapies

Author(s): Willows, N., Batal, M
Publication Date: 2013
Publication: Nutrition in Infancy
Page Numbers: 39-49

Influence of gender roles and rising food prices on poor, pregnant women's eating and food provisioning practices in Dhaka, Bangladesh

Author(s): Levay AV, Mumtaz Z, Rashid SF, Willows N
Publication Date: 2013
Publication: Reproductive Health
Volume: 10
Issue: 1
Page Numbers: 53

High adiposity is associated cross-sectionally with low self-concept and body size dissatisfaction among indigenous Cree schoolchildren in Canada

Author(s): Willows ND, Ridley D, Raine KD, Maximova K.M
Publication Date: 2013
Publication: BMC Pediatr
Issue: Aug 12
Page Numbers: 13:118

Ethical principles of health research involving Indigenous peoples

Author(s): Willows N
Publication Date: 2013
Publication: Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism
Volume: 38
Issue: 11
Page Numbers: iii-v

Community-based participatory research to address childhood obesity; Experiences from Alexander First Nation in Canada

Author(s): Pigford AE, Dyck Feherau D, Ball GDC, Holt NL, Plotnikoff RC, Veugelers PJ, Arcand E, Alexander First Nation, Willows ND
Publication Date: 2013
Publication: Pimatisiwin: A Journal of Indigenous and Aboriginal Community Health
Volume: 11
Issue: 2
Page Numbers: 171-185

Associations between household food insecurity and health outcomes in the Aboriginal population

Author(s): Willows ND, Veugelers P, Raine K, Kuhle S
Publication Date: 2011
Publication: Health Reports
Volume: 22
Issue: 2
Page Numbers: 15-20
External Link:

Diabetes awareness and body size perceptions of Cree schoolchildren

Author(s): Willows ND, Marshall D, Raine K, Ridley DC
Publication Date: 2009
Publication: Health Education Research
Volume: 24
Issue: 6
Page Numbers: 1051-1058

Associations among the food environment diet quality and weight status in Cree children in Québec

Author(s): Downs SM, Arnold A, Marshall D, McCargar LJ, Raine KD, Willows ND
Publication Date: 2009
Publication: Public Health Nutrition
Volume: 12
Issue: 9
Page Numbers: 1504–1511

Understanding prenatal weight gain in First Nations women

Author(s): Black TL, Raine K, Willows ND
Publication Date: 2008
Publication: Canadian Journal of Diabetes
Volume: 32
Issue: 3
Page Numbers: 198-205