. . . bringing developmental science to childhood obesity research

Socioeconomic disparities in obesity begin in early childhood and track throughout the lifespan, but the etiology of such differences is unclear. Low-income children are more likely than their peers to be obese, experience chronic stress, and have difficulty self-regulating their emotions and behavior. Studying how the cycle of poverty, stress, and obesity begins early in life is essential, because once established, obesity typically persists throughout the lifespan.

Our lab focuses on understanding biological, behavioral, and social-contextual mechanisms that may lead to/increase risk for obesity among young, low-income children.  Our Directors Dr. Lumeng (a developmental-behavioral pediatrician) and Dr. Miller (a developmental psychologist) take an interdisciplinary perspective to examine stress, self­regulation, and "stress­ eating" behaviors as potential pathways to obesity and excessive weight gain among young, low ­income children; collaborators include faculty from Psychiatry, Pediatric Endocrinology, Biostatistics, Public Health, Nursing, Psychology.  

We are an interdisciplinary team that studies biological, psychological, and behavioral processes in order to examine the complex relationships among social context, the neurobiology of stress, self-regulation, parenting, and obesity.  We focus on how these associations unfold over development.  Improved understanding of such associations in youn
g, low-income children will provide new points for targeted obesity prevention and intervention programs for young children at risk. Overall, our research program seeks to inform understanding mechanisms of self-regulation, stress regulation, and obesity in young children in relation to the early emergence of health disparities.

Openings for Post-doctoral training: http://chgd.umich.edu/research/post-doctoral-research-fellowship/