Developmental Diagram

Developmental changes with increasing age related to disease and symptoms.

A critical barrier to progress in obesity research is the widespread application of cross-sectional designs. Longitudinal assessments are necessary in order to identify the causal drivers of obesity, especially obesity that begins in childhood and leads into adulthood. Obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled in adolescents in the past 30 years, with current prevalence rates as high as 1 in 3 children diagnosed as being obese or overweight in the United States.

We will be leveraging readily available longitudinal data to investigate how adverse sociocultural-environmental factors negatively drive neurodevelopmental trajectories in regions of the cognitive and emotion regulation networks that decrease executive function in childhood obesity.

By examining developmental changes in the brain and gut, we will obtain new information regarding the relative contribution of these biological processes to the alterations associated with disease and health. This may indicate new treatment targets.