Drugs and Gluttony

Drugs and Gluttony


Statistical Science majors Nathaniel Brown and Corey Vernot, and Economics student Guan-Wun Hao spent ten weeks exploring changes in food purchase behavior and nutritional intake following the event of a new Metformin prescription for Type II Diabetes. They worked closely with Matthew Harding and researchers in the BECR Center, as well as Dr. Susan Spratt, an endocrinologist in Duke Medicine.

Project Results

The team constructed statistical models to evaluate single-person and two-person households, aggregating nutritional information over 4-week time spans. They found results consistent with clinical trial findings of reduced appetite while on Metformin, but also found significant nutritional changes approximately one month before the start of the prescription.

Download the Executive Summary (PDF)

Faculty Sponsor

  • Matthew Harding, Assistant Professor, Sanford School

Project Manager

  • Ya Xue, Senior Data Scientist, BECR Center

Student Mentor

  • Guan-Wun Hao, Duke University Master’s student, Economics


  • Nathaniel Brown, Duke University Statistical Science
  • Corey Vernot, Duke University Statitical Science and Public Policy

Disciplines Involved

  • Public Policy
  • Economics
  • Public Health

Related People


Statistical Science

Economics and Computation