Food, Nutrition and Obesity Research

The Institute provides a home at Dartmouth for researchers who focus on behavior and non-communicable diseases. We conduct research that has measurable impact on risk for non-communicable diseases.

Highly processed foods are engineered to be convenient and appealing. Diets rich in highly processed foods are linked to obesity, type II diabetes, and heart disease. Food companies market these foods to children beginning in the preschool years. Our research has focused on how the marketing of highly processed foods influences how children eat. We have conducted cutting edge brain imaging, behavioral, and genetic studies to learn how youth respond to food advertisements. For example, our research has demonstrated that children eat more after seeing food ads and that some children are genetically predisposed to this overeating. We have also studied the degree to which the marketing strategies (e.g., advertisement themes, use of toy premiums) are deceptive and violate food companies' own guidelines on marketing.

Selected publications 

The associations between attentional bias to food cues, parent-report appetitive traits, and concurrent adiposity among adolescents. []
Brand J, Yeum D, Stewart T, Emond JA, Gilbert-Diamond D. Eat Behav. 2024 Apr 4;53:101874. doi: 10.1016/j.eatbeh.2024.101874. Online ahead of print. PMID: 38636439

Factors Correlated with Ultra-Processed Food (UPF) Intake in Preschool-Aged Children and Association with Weight
Carroll JE, Sturgeon SR, Bertone-Johnson E, VanKim N, Longacre MR, Dalton MA, Emond JA. J Nutr Educ Behav. 2024 Apr;56(4):196-208. doi: 10.1016/j.jneb.2023.12.008. Epub 2024 Feb 9. PMID: 38340130

Understanding risk and causal mechanisms for developing obesity in infants and young children: A National Institutes of Health workshop
Aagaard KM, Barkin SL, Burant CF, Carnell S, Demerath E, Donovan SM, Eneli I, Francis LA, Gilbert-Diamond D, Hivert MF, LeBourgeois MK, Loos RJF, Lumeng JC, Miller AL, Okely AD, Osganian SK, Ramirez AG, Trasande L, Van Horn LV, Wake M, Wright RJ, Yanovski SZ
Obes Rev. 2024 Apr;25(4):e13690. doi: 10.1111/obr.13690. Epub 2024 Jan 11. PMID: 38204366

Children's Perception of Food Marketing Across Digital Media Platforms
Carroll JE, Emond JA, Griffin LL, Bertone-Johnson ER, VanKim NA, Sturgeon SR. AJPM Focus. 2024 Feb 11;3(3):100205. doi: 10.1016/j.focus.2024.100205. PMID: 38560403; PMCID: PMC10981009

Factors Correlated With Ultra-Processed Food (UPF) Intake in Preschool-Aged Children and Association With Weight
Carroll JE, Sturgeon SR, Bertone-Johnson E, VanKim N, Longacre MR, Dalton MA, Emond JA. J Nutr Educ Behav. 2024 Feb 9:S1499-4046(23)00583-3. doi: 10.1016/j.jneb.2023.12.008. Online ahead of print. PMID: 38340130

Urinary biomarkers of exposure to toxic and essential elements: A comparison of infants fed with human milk or formula
Pikounis TD, Amann KL, Jackson BP, Punshon T, Gilbert-Diamond D, Korrick S, Karagas MR, Cottingham KL. Environ Epidemiol. 2024 Jan 9;8(1): e286. doi: 10.1097/EE9.0000000000000286. eCollection 2024 Feb. PMID: 38343736 Free PMC article.

Metabolomic data presents challenges for epidemiological meta-analysis: a case study of childhood body mass index from the ECHO consortium
Prince N, Liang D, Tan Y, Alshawabkeh A, Angel EE, Busgang SA, Chu SH, Cordero JF, Curtin P, Dunlop AL, Gilbert-Diamond D, Giulivi C, Hoen AG, Karagas MR, Kirchner D, Litonjua AA, Manjourides J, McRitchie S, Meeker JD, Pathmasiri W, Perng W, Schmidt RJ, Watkins DJ, Weiss ST, Zens MS, Zhu Y, Lasky-Su JA, Kelly RS Metabolomics. 2024 Jan 24;20(1):16. doi: 10.1007/s11306-023-02082-y. Epub 2024 Jan 24. PMID: 38267770

What Is Food Noise? A Conceptual Model of Food Cue Reactivity
Hayashi D, Edwards C, Emond JA, Gilbert-Diamond D, Butt M, Rigby A, Masterson TD
Nutrients. 2023 Nov 17;15(22) doi: 10.3390/nu15224809. Epub 2023 Nov 17. PMID: 38004203

Quantifying differences in packaged food and drink purchases among households with diet-related cardiometabolic multi-morbidity: a cross-sectional analysis
Ricket IM, Brown JR, MacKenzie TA, Ma Y, Grewal D, Ailawadi KL, Emond JA. BMC Public Health. 2022 Nov 17;22(1):2101. doi: 10.1186/s12889-022-14626-3. PMID: 36397061 Free PMC article.