The doctor of the future will no longer treat the human frame with drugs, but rather will cure and prevent disease with nutrition.
-Thomas Edison (1847-1931)
My program of research aims to understand how feeding experiences and growth trajectories during early childhood affect the development of eating behaviors and weight status across the life course. Specifically, I am interested in the individual, familial, and sociocultural factors that contribute to individual differences in:
- Self-regulation of food intake in response to alimentary cues
- Weight change trajectories across infancy and childhood
A key focus of my research is on the bidirectional influences between children and parents, and how child characteristics influence, and are influenced by, parent characteristics and behaviors. The overarching goal of my current research is to identify potential targets for my future efforts to design, implement, and evaluate evidence-based prevention programs to promote optimal feeding behaviors, self-regulatory abilities, and weight gain trajectories during infancy and childhood. Achieving this goal is a first step toward primary prevention of the negative outcomes associated with undesirable dietary and weight gain patterns, such as obesity and type II diabetes.