The application proposes to develop a comprehensive, ecological research agenda for intergenerational obesity. We define intergenerational obesity along two parallel lines: (1) the developmental course of obesity, with particular focus on two "pivot" or key developmental transition periods where intervention effects may be maximized, young childhood and young adulthood;and relatedly, (2) the intergenerational transmission of obesity. Researchers from social/behavioral, health, exercise, life, medical and engineering sciences will meet regularly to develop a multilevel conceptual model and research agenda that includes both processes and outcomes. This model will inform studies designed over the course of the grant period by smaller working teams. Ongoing formative evaluation will help project teams resolve any collaborative difficulties. Study proposals submitted for funding by the end of the project will advance the field by using multilevel modeling to address interactions between different environmental systems that may affect young children, young adults and their families.
Obesity is considered at epidemic proportions and a major public health issue in the United States and increasingly, across the developed and developing world. Recent estimates are that almost one third of children aged 2-19 are overweight or obese, representing a significant health and economic threat to future generations. To break intergenerational cycles of obesity transmission and arrest obesogenic developmental trajectories, studies must address multiple levels of influence. This project will generate a research agenda and study proposals to address these multifactorial concerns through building strategic interdisciplinary scientific teams dedicated to intergenerational obesity research.