Childhood obesity is a national epidemic that affects 12.5 million American children and adolescents. That number has more than doubled in the past 30 years. Yet despite growing concern over this health crisis, we still know very little about the root causes influencing some young people to become dangerously overweight.
With a $2.8 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, Associate Professor of Psychology Jody Ganiban is investigating factors that may predict and influence a child’s risk for obesity—factors like genetic history, as well as prenatal and postnatal environments. Her work focuses on adopted children and their parents, both birth and adoptive. This is a population that allows Ganiban to separate genetic influences from environmental impacts.
In an ongoing series of video conversations with Columbian College scholars, Dean Ben Vinson recently sat down with Ganiban to discuss how her research may change our understanding of childhood obesity—and lead to treatment solutions.