Name: Karen A. Steitz M.S., R.D., C.S.P., L.D.
Department: Nutrition and Dietetics
Research Focus: Pediatric Nutrition
Current Research Project
Title: Study of Rapid Infant Growth
Study Design: This is an observational study. There will be no randomization. IRB (SLU/Glennon) will be completed Month 1. Month 2 will include subject re-recruitment with a phone call notifying them of the new study. If interest is expressed consent will be completed at first visit. Month2-12 will include data collection (including follow-up periods) and analysis.
- Specific Aim 1: Identify maternal attitudes and behaviors with respect to overall health, diet, and exercise that are associated with elevated weight and weight gain in toddlers.
- Specific Aim 2: Identify toddler environment and behaviors including diet, activity, sleep, and media use associated with elevated weight and weight gain in toddlers.
Outcomes: More than 16% of U.S. children aged 2 to 19 years are obese, and up to 80% of obese children can anticipate health consequences such as insulin resistance and diabetes, hypertension, and dyslipidemia.14,15 The vast majority of overweight children have the onset of their excess weight prior to the age of 5, and 25% may have the onset of excess weight prior to 5 months of age.16 In fact, over 9% of infants and toddlers are at or above the 95% for weight-for-recumbent length.14 The longer a child remains obese, the more likely he/she will be to carry that obesity into adulthood.
As early as the 1960s, research emerged linking such rapid early infant weight gain in healthy, term infants with later risk of obesity in childhood and adolescence.17,18 Additional work has confirmed these preliminary findings and expanded outcomes linking early rapid weight gain to cardiovascular disease risk factors, poor body composition, and obesity from childhood through middle adulthood.19-28 In addition to exploring traditional risk factors for obesity, more recent work has begun to explore risk factors for early childhood obesity from a broader perspective including behaviors such as media exposure and sleep.29-34 Several maternal risk factors such as obesity have also been linked to both rapid infant weight gain and childhood obesity;35,36 however, the relationship between known risk factors for childhood obesity and/or rapid infant weight gain remain largely unexplored for the toddler years and the longitudinal characteristics of these risk factors have not been studied in detail.
The Institute of Medicine has set determining the multifaceted social and environmental determinants of early pediatric obesity as a major priority for efforts geared toward prevention of this major pediatric health epidemic.37 We will address this mandate by expanding the STRING study to the toddler years continuing to examine maternal attitudes and behaviors as well as toddler behaviors from a broad perspective. We will also measure activity level through the use of accelerometers, an advancing and increasing common method of gathering quantitative data on activity level.3,38 Studies have shown that accelerometry provides a valid measure of physical activity in adults, adolescents, children, and even toddlers. 4,31 Accelerometry, however, has not been used to explore the relationship between maternal or toddler activity and childhood obesity.
Grant/Sponsor: SLU President Research Fund
"Feeding practices and dental health outcomes in children (JPHD-OA-07-12-0144)" has been submitted by Ms. Alison Galzki to the Journal of Public Health Dentistry. Karen A Steitz, MS, RD, CSP - 2nd author
Thesis committee for Britney Wetzler on "Childhood Obesity, Self-Esteem, and Quality of Life" Submitted
Thesis committee for Julie Wich on "Cause and Treatment Associations in Anorexia Nervosa" Submitted
Thesis committee for Katherine Kriegshauser on "Vegetarian Diets in Adolescents" Submitted
Camille L Aschwald, MS, RD; Rosemary B Cantanzaro, MS, RD; Edward P Weiss, PhD; Jeffrey A Gavard, PhD; Karen A Steitz, MS, RD; Dorothea J Mostello, MD. Large-for-Gestational-Age Infants of Type 1 Diabetic Mothers: An Effect of Preprandial Hyperglycemia? Gynecological Endocrinology 2009; 25(10):653