Director of the Centers for Epidemiology and Environmental Health, Chair of Epidemiology, Professor of Epidemiology, Professor of Pediatrics


I am public health researcher specializing in nutritional, pediatric, and psychiatric epidemiology.  My research focuses on determining the optimal classification for eating disorders and identifying the modifiable causes, correlates, consequences, and course of overweight and eating disorders among children, adolescents, and adult women.  


Much of my current research uses data from the Growing Up Today Study (GUTS), a prospective cohort study of youth I helped to established in 1996 to assess the predictors of dietary intake, activity, and weight gain and is still ongoing in 2016, with a younger cohort, GUTS II, established in 2004. My early research on eating disorders focused on identifying the personal, peer, family, and media influences on starting to binge eating, purge, or develop an eating disorder. 

I am currently investigating how eating disorders should be best classified. My current project uses data from GUTS, and also youth in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), a birth cohort in the United Kingdom. Our findings were used by the working group who revised the eating disorder diagnostic criteria in 2013. Future revisions will hopefully also address gender differences in presentation, course, and risk.  The latter is highlighted in our paper that was  published in JAMA Pediatrics, which is the first large study to shows the distribution of a range of eating disorders in males and how they relate to the development of adverse outcomes.

In addition to the studies on eating disorders, I am investigating the associations of intake of soda, diet soda, sports drinks, fast food, and take out food with BMI gain and the development of obesity among youth in the GUTS II cohort. In addition, I am working with researchers involved in the Longitudinal Assessment of Bariatric Surgery (LABS)  study to identify obesity subtypes. 

Brown Affiliations

Research Areas