The main focus of my research over the last two years has been examining the epidemiologic and health services research aspects of nutrition and physical activity as they affect child health.
In health services research and nutrition, I have completed a study of predictors of breastfeeding discontinuation among a large cohort of mother-newborn pairs. I am currently working on a prospective study of postpartum mothers to examine systems-level support for and barriers to breastfeeding continuation from the perspective of mothers and their clinicians. The results will help identify gaps that exist in current services for mothers who breastfeed and will help inform the design of intervention studies to promote and support breastfeeding continuation in primary care.
In physical activity and nutritional epidemiology, I have studied the longitudinal relationship between intake of fried food away from home and body mass index in older children and adolescents. This analysis has examined determinants of weight gain and diet quality among approximately 10,000 participants of the Growing Up Today Study. I recently presented the abstract and poster of the results to the American Heart Association Council on Epidemiology. I have also completed a study of the social influences on adolescent physical activity among the Growing Up Today Study cohort.
In physical activity, I have conducted formative research of physical activity among inner-city middle school children. This work specifically examines adolescents’ perspective of the nutrition and physical activity counseling they receive from their health care providers. Together with the Harvard School of Public Health Prevention Research Center, I designed questions related to adolescents’ attitudes towards their health care providers counseling on nutrition and physical activity. The survey was administered to over 500 children in the Boston Public School system in the spring of 2003.