Professor of Epidemiology, Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs

Overview

I am public health researcher specializing in nutritional, pediatric, and psychiatric epidemiology.  Most of 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. 

During the past decade I have researched how eating disorders and obesity should be best classified. I used data from GUTS and the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), a birth cohort in the United Kingdom, to identify optimal classifications for eating disorders. Our findings were used by the working group who revised the DSM 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.  I used the Longitudinal Assessment of Bariatric Surgery (LABS)  study to identify obesity subtypes. We found that even among adults with severe obesity, there were four distinct subtypes. I am currently investigating subtypes of children and adolescents with obesity and whether the subtypes differ by race or biological sex.

Brown Affiliations

Research Areas