A George Washington University professor will receive almost $3 million in federal funding to study childhood obesity.
Judy Ganiban, a professor in GW's psychology department, will track 561 adopted children from birth up to age 9 in order to discover the genetic and environmental factors that contribute to childhood obesity.
Ganiban's past research focused on the interplay between environment and genetic makeup. She has explored the ways that family relationships contribute to the expression of some genetic-based maladjustment in children.
In her new NIH-funded work, she hopes to find out how the home environment affects a child's genetic risk for obesity. "By studying adopted children," Ganiban said, "we can tease apart genetic and prenatal influences on child weigh from their current home environments."
Ganiban believes that current preventive programs could be more effective if they were more closely tailored to the individual.
Her study will run from January 2012 until 2016, and involve approximately 2,200 individuals.