This proposal is for a Mentored Research Scientist Development Award (K01) for Katherine Balantekin, PhD, RD. Training: My long-term career goal is to be an independent investigator studying ingestive behavior and obesity risk factors in children and adolescents with co-morbid overweight/obesity and disordered eating. The proposed K01 will help achieve this by providing training, experience, and mentorship in the areas of: 1) identification of novel treatment targets for those with comorbid overweight/obesity and disordered eating; 2) applying basic behavioral science principles towards understanding ingestive behavior; 3) translating findings from lab-based studies into interventions; 4) evaluating how behavioral phenotypes influence obesity risk over time. This K01 will provide me with the protected time to receive the necessary training to enhance my expertise in these four areas and will propel me to becoming an independent research scientist focused on the intersection of obesity and disordered eating. Research: Overweight/obesity among children is a major public health problem, and children with overweight/obesity are at increased risk for both medical and psychological co-morbidities. Disordered eating begins in childhood, and often manifests as loss of control (LOC) eating, especially in children with overweight/obesity. Children with LOC eating, or the feeling that one cannot control what or how much one is eating, are at increased risk for obesity. However, less is known about mechanisms that increase this risk. Both parental restriction and the relative reinforcing value (RRV) of food, or the motivation to obtain food, are independently associated with child overweight/obesity, and preliminary work suggests that both may also be related to the development and/or maintenance of LOC. The proposed K01 is designed to explore the relationships among LOC eating, exposure to parental restriction, and RRV of food with respect to obesity risk. Summary: Findings from this study will help identify potential targets for a NIDDK R03 grant application to pilot the efficacy of an obesity prevention trial for children with disordered eating at risk for obesity. This K01 will provide me with the training and expertise in identifying behavioral phenotypes for treatment targets, applying basic behavioral science principles towards understanding ingestive behavior, translational science, and acquiring knowledge about novel statistical approaches to analyzing longitudinal data and ingestive behavior data. At the end of this award, I will be an independent research scientist studying ingestive behavior at the intersection of obesity and disordered eating.
This project is designed to assist Dr. Balantekin in establishing an independent research career in the fields of obesity and disordered eating by providing training, experience, and mentorship in the areas of: 1) identifying novel treatment targets; 2) applying basic behavioral science principles towards understanding eating behavior; 3) translating lab-based studies into interventions; 4) learning novel statistical approaches for analyzing longitudinal and eating behavior data. Loss of control eating, or the feeling that one cannot control what or how much one is eating, is prevalent among children across with weight spectrum, and is associated with increased obesity risk and metabolic dysfunction. The proposed study aims to explore the relationships among LOC eating, parental restriction, and the reinforcing value of food with respect to obesity risk.