Yaguang Zheng


Yaguang Zheng Headshot

Yaguang Zheng


Assistant Professor

1 212 998 5170

NEW YORK, NY 10016
United States

Yaguang Zheng's additional information

Yaguang Zheng is an assistant professor at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing. Her research focuses on cardiometabolic risk reduction by leveraging mobile health, electronic health records, and data science techniques. Zheng has explored behavioral phenotypes through the use of wireless devices in clinical trials and real-world settings and their impacts on cardiometabolic disease prevention and management. Zheng’s initial work focused on lifestyle behavior changes through mobile health, more specifically, using mobile health for self-monitoring and its impact on weight-loss outcomes. After identifying a critical knowledge gap in the area of engagement with mobile health, Zheng conducted a pilot study that found that older adults were able to use multiple mobile devices to improve diabetes self-management, debunking traditional perceptions of older adults as being skeptical of multiple mobile technologies.

Zheng has also applied machine learning algorithms to analyze data from a large real-world sample that has yielded varied patterns of use of wireless devices over the course of a year, findings which are helping to target subgroups of individuals who need long-term engagement in using mobile health devices. More recently, Zheng has worked on electronic health record data, including mobile health data from wearable devices, like continuous glucose monitors, which has real-world application for clinical practice.

Prior to joining the NYU Rory Meyers faculty, Zheng was a postdoctoral scholar supported by NIH grant T32 NR008857 Technology: Research in Chronic and Critical Illness at the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing.

Zheng earned her PhD at the University of Pittsburgh. She also received a Nursing Informatics Certificate during her postdoctoral training.  

PhD, Nursing - University of Pittsburgh

Chronic disease

American Medical Informatics Association
American Heart Association
American Diabetes Association

Faculty Honors Awards

Post-doctoral trainee, Technology: Research in Chronic and Critical Illness (T32 NR008857) (2020)
Ruth Perkins Kuehn Scholarship, Sigma Theta Tau, Eta Chapter (2014)
New Investigator Travel Award, American Heart Association EPI/NPAM 2014 Scientific Sessions (2014)


Associations Between Implementation of the Caregiver Advise Record Enable (CARE) Act and Health Service Utilization for Older Adults with Diabetes: Retrospective Observational Study

Zheng, Y., Anton, B. B., Rodakowski, J., Dunn, S. C. A., Fields, B., Hodges, J. C., Donovan, H., Feiler, C., Martsolf, G. R., Bilderback, A., Martin, S. C., Li, D., & James, A. E. (2022). JMIR Aging, 5(2). 10.2196/32790
Background: The Caregiver Advise Record Enable (CARE) Act is a state level law that requires hospitals to identify and educate caregivers ("family members or friends") upon discharge.Objective: This study examined the association between the implementation of the CARE Act in a Pennsylvania health system and health service utilization (ie, reducing hospital readmission, emergency department [ED] visits, and mortality) for older adults with diabetes.Methods: The key elements of the CARE Act were implemented and applied to the patients discharged to home. The data between May and October 2017 were pulled from inpatient electronic health records. Likelihood-ratio chi-square tests and multivariate logistic regression models were used for statistical analysis.Results: The sample consisted of 2591 older inpatients with diabetes with a mean age of 74.6 (SD 7.1) years. Of the 2591 patients, 46.1% (n=1194) were female, 86.9% (n=2251) were White, 97.4% (n=2523) had type 2 diabetes, and 69.5% (n=1801) identified a caregiver. Of the 1801 caregivers identified, 399 (22.2%) received discharge education and training. We compared the differences in health service utilization between pre- and postimplementation of the CARE Act; however, no significance was found. No significant differences were detected from the bivariate analyses in any outcomes between individuals who identified a caregiver and those who declined to identify a caregiver. After adjusting for risk factors (multivariate analysis), those who identified a caregiver (12.2%, 219/1801) was associated with higher rates of 30-day hospital readmission than those who declined to identify a caregiver (9.9%, 78/790; odds ratio [OR] 1.38, 95% CI 1.04-1.87; P=.02). Significantly lower rates were detected in 7-day readmission (P=.02), as well as 7-day (P=.03) and 30-day (P=.01) ED visits, among patients with diabetes whose identified caregiver received education and training than those whose identified caregiver did not receive education and training in the bivariate analyses. However, after adjusting for risk factors, no significance was found in 7-day readmission (OR 0.53, 95% CI 0.27-1.05; P=.07), 7-day ED visit (OR 0.63, 95% CI 0.38-1.03; P=.07), and 30-day ED visit (OR 0.73, 95% CI 0.52-1.02; P=.07). No significant associations were found for other outcomes (ie, 30-day readmission and 7-day and 30-day mortality) in both the bivariate and multivariate analyses.Conclusions: Our study found that the implementation of the CARE Act was associated with certain health service utilization. The identification of caregivers was associated with higher rates of 30-day hospital readmission in the multivariate analysis, whereas having identified caregivers who received discharge education was associated with lower rates of readmission and ED visit in the bivariate analysis.

Exercise and Self‑Management in Adults with Type 1 Diabetes

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Identifying Patients with Hypoglycemia Using Natural Language Processing: Systematic Literature Review

Zheng, Y., Dickson, V. V., Blecker, S., Ng, J. M., Rice, B. C., Melkus, G. D., Shenkar, L., Mortejo, M. C. R., & Johnson, S. B. (2022). JMIR Diabetes, 7(2). 10.2196/34681
Background: Accurately identifying patients with hypoglycemia is key to preventing adverse events and mortality. Natural language processing (NLP), a form of artificial intelligence, uses computational algorithms to extract information from text data. NLP is a scalable, efficient, and quick method to extract hypoglycemia-related information when using electronic health record data sources from a large population. Objective: The objective of this systematic review was to synthesize the literature on the application of NLP to extract hypoglycemia from electronic health record clinical notes. Methods: Literature searches were conducted electronically in PubMed, Web of Science Core Collection, CINAHL (EBSCO), PsycINFO (Ovid), IEEE Xplore, Google Scholar, and ACL Anthology. Keywords included hypoglycemia, low blood glucose, NLP, and machine learning. Inclusion criteria included studies that applied NLP to identify hypoglycemia, reported the outcomes related to hypoglycemia, and were published in English as full papers. Results: This review (n=8 studies) revealed heterogeneity of the reported results related to hypoglycemia. Of the 8 included studies, 4 (50%) reported that the prevalence rate of any level of hypoglycemia was 3.4% to 46.2%. The use of NLP to analyze clinical notes improved the capture of undocumented or missed hypoglycemic events using International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision (ICD-9), and International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10), and laboratory testing. The combination of NLP and ICD-9 or ICD-10 codes significantly increased the identification of hypoglycemic events compared with individual methods; for example, the prevalence rates of hypoglycemia were 12.4% for International Classification of Diseases codes, 25.1% for an NLP algorithm, and 32.2% for combined algorithms. All the reviewed studies applied rule-based NLP algorithms to identify hypoglycemia. Conclusions: The findings provided evidence that the application of NLP to analyze clinical notes improved the capture of hypoglycemic events, particularly when combined with the ICD-9 or ICD-10 codes and laboratory testing.

Nightly Variation in Sleep Influences Self-efficacy for Adhering to a Healthy Lifestyle: A Prospective Study

Burke, L. E., Kline, C. E., Mendez, D. D., Shiffman, S., Chasens, E. R., Zheng, Y., Imes, C. C., Cajita, M. I., Ewing, L., Goode, R., Mattos, M., Kariuki, J. K., Kriska, A., & Rathbun, S. L. (2022). International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 29(3), 377-386. 10.1007/s12529-021-10022-0
Background: Self-efficacy, or the perceived capability to engage in a behavior, has been shown to play an important role in adhering to weight loss treatment. Given that adherence is extremely important for successful weight loss outcomes and that sleep and self-efficacy are modifiable factors in this relationship, we examined the association between sleep and self-efficacy for adhering to the daily plan. Investigators examined whether various dimensions of sleep were associated with self-efficacy for adhering to the daily recommended lifestyle plan among participants (N = 150) in a 12-month weight loss study. Method: This study was a secondary analysis of data from a 12-month prospective observational study that included a standard behavioral weight loss intervention. Daily assessments at the beginning of day (BOD) of self-efficacy and the previous night’s sleep were collected in real-time using ecological momentary assessment. Results: The analysis included 44,613 BOD assessments. On average, participants reported sleeping for 6.93 ± 1.28 h, reported 1.56 ± 3.54 awakenings, and gave low ratings for trouble sleeping (3.11 ± 2.58; 0: no trouble; 10: a lot of trouble) and mid-high ratings for sleep quality (6.45 ± 2.09; 0: poor; 10: excellent). Participants woke up feeling tired 41.7% of the time. Using linear mixed effects modeling, a better rating in each sleep dimension was associated with higher self-efficacy the following day (all p values <.001). Conclusion: Our findings supported the hypothesis that better sleep would be associated with higher levels of reported self-efficacy for adhering to the healthy lifestyle plan.

Applying Real-World Data to Inform Continuous Glucose Monitoring Use in Clinical Practice

Zheng, Y., Siminerio, L. M., Krall, J., Anton, B. B., Hodges, J. C., Bednarz, L., Li, D., & Ng, J. M. (2021). Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology, 15(4), 968-969. 10.1177/1932296821997403

mHealth Technology and CVD Risk Reduction

Cajita, M. I., Zheng, Y., Kariuki, J. K., Vuckovic, K. M., & Burke, L. E. (2021). Current Atherosclerosis Reports, 23(7), 36. 10.1007/s11883-021-00927-2
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: To review existing mHealth-based interventions and examine their efficacy in reducing cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors.RECENT FINDINGS: A total of 50 articles are included in this review. The majority of the mHealth interventions targeted a specific CVD risk factor, while 4 addressed 2 or more CVD risk factors. Of the 9 mHealth-supported weight loss intervention trials, 4 resulted in significant weight loss. Four out of 7 RCTs targeting improvement in physical activity reported significant improvement, while 4 of the 8 mHealth-supported smoking cessation intervention trials resulted in smoking abstinence. Of the 10 mHealth-based diabetes intervention trials, 5 reported significant reductions in HbA1c; however, only 3 out of the 9 antihypertension interventions resulted in significant reductions in blood pressure. There is a growing body of literature focused on mHealth interventions that address CVD risk factors. Despite the immense potential of mHealth interventions, evidence of their efficacy in mitigating cardiovascular risk is heterogeneous.

Actual use of multiple health monitors among older adults with diabetes: Pilot study

Zheng, Y., Weinger, K., Greenberg, J., Burke, L. E., Sereika, S. M., Patience, N., Gregas, M. C., Li, Z., Qi, C., Yamasaki, J., & Munshi, M. N. (2020). JMIR Aging, 3(1). 10.2196/15995
Background: Previous studies have reported older adults perceptions of using health monitors; however, no studies have examined the actual use of multiple health monitors for lifestyle changes over time among older adults with type 2 diabetes (T2D). Objective: The primary aim of this study was to examine the actual use of multiple health monitors for lifestyle changes over 3 months among older adults with T2D. The secondary aim was to explore changes in caloric intake and physical activity (PA) over 3 months. Methods: This was a single-group study lasting 3 months. The study sample included participants who were aged .65 years with a diagnosis of T2D. Participants were recruited through fliers posted at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston. Participants attended five 60-min, biweekly group sessions, which focused on self-monitoring, goal setting, self-regulation to achieve healthy eating and PA habits, and the development of problem-solving skills. Participants were provided with the Lose It! app to record daily food intake and devices such as a Fitbit Alta for monitoring PA, a Bluetooth-enabled blood glucose meter, and a Bluetooth-enabled digital scale. Descriptive statistics were used for analysis. Results: Of the enrolled participants (N=9), the sample was white (8/9, 89%) and female (4/9, 44%), with a mean age of 76.4 years (SD 6.0; range 69-89 years), 15.7 years (SD 2.0) of education, 33.3 kg/m2 (SD 3.1) BMI, and 7.4% (SD 0.8) hemoglobin A1c. Over the 84 days of self-monitoring, the mean percentage of days using the Lose It!, Fitbit Alta, blood glucose meter, and scale were 82.7 (SD 17.6), 85.2 (SD 19.7), 65.3 (SD 30.1), and 53.0 (SD 34.5), respectively. From baseline to completion of the study, the mean daily calorie intake was 1459 (SD 661) at week 1, 1245 (SD 554) at week 11, and 1333 (SD 546) at week 12, whereas the mean daily step counts were 5618 (SD 3654) at week 1, 5792 (SD 3814) at week 11, and 4552 (SD 3616) at week 12. The mean percentage of weight loss from baseline was 4.92% (SD 0.25). The dose of oral hypoglycemic agents or insulin was reduced in 55.6% (5/9) of the participants. Conclusions: The results from the pilot study are encouraging and suggest the need for a larger study to confirm the outcomes. In addition, a study design that includes a control group with educational sessions but without the integration of technology would offer additional insight to understand the value of mobile health in behavior changes and the health outcomes observed during this pilot study.

Psychometric Evaluation of the Barriers to Healthy Eating Scale: Results from Four Independent Weight Loss Studies

Sun, R., Rohay, J. M., Sereika, S. M., Zheng, Y., Yu, Y., & Burke, L. E. (2019). Obesity, 27(5), 700-706. 10.1002/oby.22414
OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the psychometric properties of the 22-item Barriers to Healthy Eating (BHE) scale in four independent weight loss studies conducted over 13 years.METHODS: Principal axis factoring with promax rotation was performed to reveal the underlying factor structure. Internal consistency was assessed using Cronbach α, and convergent validity was assessed by correlating the baseline BHE with the Weight Efficacy Lifestyle questionnaire total and subscale scores. Predictive validity was examined by the association of BHE change with weight loss over 6 months.RESULTS: The four studies had similar gender (82.9%-89.9% female) and race (70.5%-81.4% white) distributions. Factor analyses suggested removal of two items and a three-factor structure: self-control and motivation (10 items), daily mechanics (7 items), and social support (3 items). The Cronbach α for the 20-item BHE ranged from 0.849 to 0.881 across the four studies. The BHE and Weight Efficacy Lifestyle questionnaire total and subscale scores were all negatively correlated with each other, showing good convergent validity (r = 0.120-0.544, P < 0.05). BHE change was associated with weight loss from 0 to 6 months (r = 0.282-0.450, P < 0.05).CONCLUSIONS: The BHE scale showed very good psychometric properties over time, supporting its use in measuring barriers to one's ability to adopt or maintain a healthy eating plan.

Temporal patterns of self-weighing behavior and weight changes assessed by consumer purchased scales in the Health eHeart Study

Zheng, Y., Sereika, S. M., Burke, L. E., Olgin, J. E., Marcus, G. M., Aschbacher, K., Tison, G. H., & Pletcher, M. J. (2019). Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 42(5), 873-882. 10.1007/s10865-018-00006-z
Self-weighing may promote attainment and maintenance of healthy weight; however, the natural temporal patterns and factors associated with self-weighing behavior are unclear. The aims of this secondary analysis were to (1) identify distinct temporal patterns of self-weighing behaviors; (2) explore factors associated with temporal self-weighing patterns; and (3) examine differences in percent weight changes by patterns of self-weighing over time. We analyzed electronically collected self-weighing data from the Health eHeart Study, an ongoing longitudinal research study coordinated by the University of California, San Francisco. We selected participants with at least 12 months of data since the day of first use of a WiFi- or Bluetooth-enabled digital scale. The sample (N = 1041) was predominantly male (77.5%) and White (89.9%), with a mean age of 46.5 ± 12.3 years and a mean BMI of 28.3 ± 5.9 kg/m2 at entry. Using group-based trajectory modeling, six distinct temporal patterns of self-weighing were identified: non-users (n = 120, 11.5%), weekly users (n = 189, 18.2%), rapid decliners (n = 109, 10.5%), increasing users (n = 160, 15.4%), slow decliners (n = 182, 17.5%), and persistent daily users (n = 281, 27.0%). Individuals who were older, female, or self-weighed 6–7 days/week at week 1 were more likely to follow the self-weighing pattern of persistent daily users. Predicted self-weighing trajectory group membership was significantly associated with weight change over time (p <.001). In conclusion, we identified six distinct patterns of self-weighing behavior over the 12-month period. Persistent daily users lost more weight compared with groups with less frequent patterns of scale use.

The utility of traditional Chinese medicine (Shenmai) in the cardiac rehabilitation after coronary artery bypass grafting: A single-center randomized clinical trial

Zhang, C., Zheng, Y., Chen, T., Wang, S., & Xu, M. (2019). Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 47. 10.1016/j.ctim.2019.102203
Objective: examine the efficacy and safety of Shenmai to the cardiac rehabilitation in patients received coronary artery bypass grafting. Design: a single-center randomized, single blind clinical trial. Setting: Department of Cardiovascular Surgery, Beijing Anzhen Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing, China. Subjects: Patients with coronary artery disease who received coronary artery bypass grafting in our center were studied. They must be competent to complete the 6-minute walking test without any assistance and without any severe comorbidity. Interventions: in Shemmai group, the participants were treated with Shenmai injection (100 ml/day) right after the surgery to discharge for 9.28 ± 3.75 days and then capsule (3.6 g/day) sequentially for 30 days in addition to the cardiac rehabilitation. In control group, only cardiac rehabilitation was conducted. Main measures: the 6-Minute Walking Test was measured at three time points: one day before operation, on the day of discharge and 30 days follow up. Results: The sample (n = 166) was predominately male (84%), with mean age was 61.12 ± 9.13 years. There was no significant difference between groups in baseline characteristics and the procedural characteristics. There was one death in control group and one stroke in Shenmai group right after the surgery. Overall, there was group (p =.005) and time effect (p <.001) on the 6-minute walking distance. Participants in the Shenmai group walked longer distance in meters compared with control group on the day of discharge (314.54 ± 64.14 vs. 271.29 ± 76.82, P <.001), while no significant differences before operation (399.72 ± 93.19 vs. 403.67 ± 91.99, p =.78) and on 30-day follow up (436.54 ± 67.64 vs. 421.64 ± 83.53, p =.21). Conclusion: Shenmai improves the exercise tolerance in the early stage of the cardiac rehabilitation for patients received coronary artery bypass grafting.