Energy Balance and Nutrition Lab

Our Purpose
Research in the Energy Balance and Nutrition Laboratory (EBNL) focuses on the energy mechanisms that contribute to desirable or less desirable weight gain, growth, and nutritional status in infants, children, and adolescents who are healthy, and in those with chronic disease. Since weight status in young childhood affects development and is predictive of adult weight status, the goal of our laboratory is help all individuals reach and maintain a healthy weight.

Research Studies

Current Research Studies

Eat Healthy for Families

Eat Healthy for Families

Purpose: To compare a low energy-dense dietary pattern to MyPlate recommendations in preschool-aged children and their parents.

Eligibility: Children 2-5 years-old with a parent who has a body mass index equal to or greater than 30 kg/m 2

Requirements (e.g. time commitment, number of sessions): This study involves two visits to the Energy Balance and Nutrition Laboratory (EBNL) lasting 45-60 minutes before the study starts, 14 visits (over six months) to the University of Delaware campus with each visit each lasting 60 minutes, and one final visit at the EBNL after the study.

Compensation: Participants can receive up to $150 for completion of the study.

Principal Investigator: Shannon Robson, PhD, MPH, RD

Contact Information: 

Energy Balance and Nutrition Laboratory
Email: ebnl-robson@udel.edu
Phone: 302-831- 2241

Feeding Your Child Study

Feeding Your Child Study

Purpose: To evaluate parent feeding practices, child nutrient intake and physical activity among children with and without Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Eligibility: Child must be at least 3 years old but less than 7 years old, and be diagnosed with ASD or be a typically developing, healthy child with no significant medical issues.

Compensation: $45

Principal Investigator: Jillian Trabulsi, PhD, RD

Other Investigator: Oshay Johnson, RD, Graduate Student, Human Nutrition

 Contact Information: Email: trabulsilab@udel.edu / Phone: 302.831.2241

SHiP: Children 3-6 years old with a parent who has a body mass index equal to or greater than 25kg/m2.

Snacking Healthfully in Preschoolers (SHiP)

Purpose: To understand how a snacking program designed for parents and children impacts diet quality and eating behaviors in preschool-aged children.

Eligibility: Children 3-6 years old with a parent who has a body mass index equal to or greater than 25kg/m2.

Requirements (e.g. time commitment, number of sessions): SHiP involves two visits to the Energy Balance and Nutrition Laboratory (EBNL) lasting 30-45 minutes, one prior to the study start and one after the study ends. Families in

the snacking condition will also attend five, 45-minute sessions with each session occurring weekly over the five weeks.

Compensation: For completion of measures at baseline parents will receive $10 and for final measures parents will receive $15.  

Principal Investigator:  Shannon Robson, PhD, MPH, RD

Other Investigator: Amanda Kopetsky, MS, RD

Contact Information: Email:  ebnl-robson@udel.edu / Phone: 302-831-2241

Plan 2 Eat

Plan 2 Eat

Purpose: To learn about parent experiences’ using the meal planning app, Prepear.

Eligibility: A parent with a child between 6-12 years old.

Requirements (e.g. time commitment, number of sessions): 2 visits to the EBNL lab.

Compensation: For completion of measures at baseline parents will receive $40 and for final measures parents will receive $50.  

Principal Investigator:  Shannon Robson, PhD, MPH, RD

Contact Information: Email:  ebnl-robson@udel.edu / Phone: 302-831-2241

Lab Directors

Jillian Trabulsi, PhD, RD

Jillian Trabulsi, PhD, RD

Associate Professor, Director Graduate Program

Dr. Trabulsi's Bio

Dr. Trabulsi started her career as a clinical dietitian at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). After practicing for six years, she went on to earn her Ph.D. in Nutritional Sciences at The University of Wisconsin – Madison, followed by a post-doctoral fellowship in Pediatric Nutrition and Growth at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Her research interests center upon diet, nutritional status, growth, and energy balance in infants and children who are healthy and in those with chronic disease. She is specifically interested the components of the energy balance equation that contribute to desirable or less desirable growth patterns. Her research has been funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health as well as private foundations and her work is published in peer-reviewed journals.

Shannon Robson, PhD, MPH, RD

Shannon Robson, PhD, MPH, RD

Assistant Professor

Dr. Robson's Bio

Dr. Robson is an alumnus of the nutrition program at the University of Delaware. She earned her MPH in community health education and PhD in Nutrition Science at the University of Tennessee Knoxville, and completed a National Institutes of Health post-doctoral fellowship in Child Behavior and Nutrition in the Division of Behavioral Medicine and Clinical Psychology at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. Her research interests are focused in pediatric weight management and child eating behaviors that impact energy balance.

Carly Pacanowski, PhD, RD

Carly Pacanowski, PhD, RD

Assistant Professor

Dr. Pacanowski's Bio

Dr. Pacanowski’s research focuses on eating behavior and weight-control strategies in adults, and implications for psychological well-being. Drawing from training in obesity prevention and eating disorders, Dr. Pacanowski’s research program seeks to understand how number-oriented weight control strategies (e.g. self-weighing; fitness tracking; calorie counting) versus more intuitive approaches that do not focus on weight (e.g. yoga; mindful eating) impact both weight trajectory and psychological well-being over time

Graduate and Undergraduate Research Assistants

Graduate Research Assistants

Samantha Rex is a Graduate Student and Research Assistant in the MS in Human nutrition program at the University of DelawareShe graduated with a B.S in dietetics from the University of Delaware in the Fall of 2016. Her research interests include obesity, weight loss, eating habits, and diet and its relationship to diseases and health conditions. Her future plans include going on to a dietetic internship to become a registered dietitian and to continue on to a Ph.D.

 

 

 

 

Alexa Nichols is an undergraduate student majoring in Dietetics and minoring in Health and Wellness at the University of Delaware. She will begin her graduate studies at the University of Delaware in program of Human Nutrition (MS) in the Fall of 2017. She is interested in researching innovative treatment for disordered eating and aspires to promote healthy lifestyles.

Undergraduate Research Assistants

 

Lauren Burkett is an undergraduate research assistant and is currently a sophomore studying dietetics at the University of Delaware. She is also a resident assistant for upperclassmen and got elected to be President of the Food and Culinary Club for the 2017-2018 school year. Once she is a graduated Blue Hen, her plans are to become a Registered Dietitian and one day open up her own practice.

 

 

 

 

Paige Heiden is an undergraduate research assistance and is currently a sophomore studying dietetics at the University of Delaware. After graduation, she plans on completing a dietetic internship so she can become a Registered Dietitian. Her research is conducted on low-income families at the WIC center in Newark, DE. She is specifically interested in working in a clinical setting with diabetic and geriatric patients.

 

 

 

 

Claire Rudden is a junior at the University of Delaware majoring in Dietetics. After graduation, she plans on completing a dietetic internship and becoming a Registered Dietitian. She is interested in working with low-income families and children in a community outreach setting focusing on nutrition education and healthy eating.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alysia Vega is an undergraduate research assistant and is currently a sophomore studying dietetics at the University of Delaware, while additionally pursuing a business administration minor. After graduation, she plans on completing a dietetic internship to become a Registered Dietitian. Her research interests include obesity prevention in children and sports nutrition.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alana is a junior Dietetics student at the University of Delaware. She plans to graduate in 2019 and complete the dietetic internship. For her future career, she hopes to work with children and eventually open her own practice.

 

 

In the News

Dr. Trabulsi in UDaily

Getting a Healthy Start

Dr. Robson in Delaware Public Media

UD research shows a link between parent and child diet quality

Publications

Current Publications

Pacanowski CR, Mason TB, Crosby RD, Mitchell J, Wonderlich SAB, Crow SJ, Peterson CB. Weight change over the course of binge eating disorder treatment: relationship to binge episodes and psychological factors. Obesity. Accepted 1.24.2018.

Pacanowski CR, Linde JA, Faulconbridge LF, Coday M, Safford MM, Chen H, Yanovski SZ, Ewing LJ, Wing R, Jeffery RW. Psychological status and weight variability over 8 years: results from Look AHEAD. Health Psychology. Accepted for publication 2017. NIHMSID 930078.

Neumark-Sztainer D, MacLehose RF, Watts AW, Pacanowski CR, Eisenberg ME. Yoga and body image: Findings from a large population-based study of young adults. Body Image. 2017; 24:69-75. PMID: 29288970.

Wilkinson L, Pacanowski CR, Levitsky D. Three-year follow-up of participants from a self-weighing randomized controlled trial. J Obes. 2017. PMCID: PMC5625756.

Mason, T. B., Pacanowski, C. R., Lavender, J. M., Crosby, R. D., Wonderlich, S. A., Engel, S. G., … & Peterson, C. B. (accepted pending revision). Evaluating the ecological validity of the Dutch Eating Behavior Questionnaire among obese adults using ecological momentary assessment. Assessment.

Baker S, Trabulsi J, Evans T, Smith E. Improving nutrition students’ knowledge and perceived competence to provide nutrition education to adults with disabilities via experiential learning.Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2017. doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2016.12.009

Stark LJ, Filigno SS, Bolling C, et al. Learning about activity and understanding nutrition for child health (LAUNCH): Rationale, design, and implementation of a randomized clinical trial of a family-based pediatric weight management program for preschoolers. Contemporary Clinical Trials. 2017;52:10-19. doi: 10.1016/j.cct.2016.10.007. 10.1016/j.cct.2016.10.007

Filigno SS, Robson SM, Szczesniak RD, et al. Macronutrient intake in preschoolers with cystic fibrosis and the relationship between macronutrients and growth. Journal of Cystic Fibrosis. 2017. doi: 10.1016/j.jcf.2017.01.010

Goldschmidt AB, Crosby RD, Cao L, et al. Contextual factors associated with eating in the absence of hunger among adults with obesity.Eating Behaviors. 2017;26:33-39. doi: 10.1016/j.eatbeh.2017.01.005

McCullough MB, Janicke D, Odar Stough C, et al. Barriers to recruitment in pediatric obesity trials: Comparing opt-in and opt-out recruitment approaches. Journal of Pediatric Psychology.2016:jsw054. doi: 10.1093/jpepsy/jsw054

Perkett M, Robson SM, Kripalu V, et al. Characterizing cardiovascular health and evaluating a low-intensity intervention to promote smoking cessation in a food-assistance population. Journal of Community Health. 2016. doi: 10.1007/s10900-016-0295-2

Robson SM, Bolling C, McCullough MB, Stough CO, Stark LJ. A preschool obesity treatment clinical trial: Reasons primary care providers declined referrals. The Journal of pediatrics. 2016;177:266.e1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27453375. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2016.06.027

McCullough MB, Robson SM, Stark LJ. A review of the structural characteristics of family meals with children in the united states. Advances in nutrition (Bethesda, Md.). 2016;7(4):627-640. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27422500. doi: 10.3945/an.115.010439

Robson SM, Couch SC, Peugh JL, et al. Parent diet quality and energy intake are related to child diet quality and energy intake. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2016;116(6):984-990. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S221226721600157X. doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2016.02.011

Robson SM, Stough CO, Stark LJ. The impact of a pilot cooking intervention for parent-child dyads on the consumption of foods prepared away from home. Appetite. 2016;99:177-184. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26779887. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2016.01.021

Robson SM, Crosby LE, Stark LJ. Eating dinner away from home: Perspectives of middle-to high-income parents. Appetite. 2016;96:147-153. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26386299. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2015.09.019

Papas MA, Trabulsi JC, Axe M, Rimmer JH. Predictors of obesity in a US sample of high school adolescents with and without disabilities.Journal of School Health. 2016;86(11):803-812. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/josh.12436/abstract. doi: 10.1111/josh.12436

Papas M, Trabulsi J, Dahl A, Dominick G. Food insecurity increases the odds of obesity among young hispanic children.J Immigrant Minority Health. 2016;18(5):1046-1052. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26377352. doi: 10.1007/s10903-015-0275-0

Ehrenthal DB, Wu P, Trabulsi J. Differences in the protective effect of exclusive breastfeeding on child overweight and obesity by mother’s race.Maternal and child health journal. 2016;20(9):1971. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27178429. doi: 10.1007/s10995-016-2015-z

Mennella J, Trabulsi J, Papas M. Effects of cow milk versus extensive protein hydrolysate formulas on infant cognitive development.Amino Acids. 2016;48(3):697-705. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26497857. doi: 10.1007/s00726-015-2118-7

Pacanowski CR, Pisetsky EM, Berg KC, et al. Self-weighing behavior in individuals with eating disorders.International Journal of Eating Disorders. 2016;49(8):817-821. doi: 10.1002/eat.22537

Pacanowski CR, Diers L, Crosby RD, Neumark-Sztainer D. Yoga in the treatment of eating disorders within a residential program: A randomized controlled trial.Eating Disorders. 2017;25(1):37-51. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10640266.2016.1237810. doi: 10.1080/10640266.2016.1237810

Robson SM, Khoury JC, Kalkwarf HJ, Copeland K. Dietary intake of children attending full-time child care: What are they eating away from the child-care center? Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2015;115(9):1472- 1478. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25908440. doi: 10.10.1016/j.jand.2015.02.029

Trabulsi J, Irving S, Papas M, et al. Total energy expenditure of infants with congenital heart disease who have undergone surgical intervention.Pediatr Cardiol. 2015;36(8):1670-1679. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26092599. doi: 10.1007/s00246-015-1216-3

Riley AW, Trabulsi J, Yao M, Bevans KB, DeRusso PA. Validation of a parent report questionnaire.Clinical Pediatrics. 2015;54(12):1167-1174. http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0009922815574075. doi:10.1177/0009922815574075

Fullmer S, Benson-Davies S, Earthman CP, et al. Evidence analysis library review of best practices for performing indirect calorimetry in healthy and non-critically ill individuals.Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2015;115(9):1446.e2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26038298. doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2015.04.003

Masullo L, Papas MA, Cotugna N, Baker S, Mahoney L, Trabulsi J. Complementary and alternative medicine use and nutrient intake among individuals with multiple sclerosis in the united states.Journal of community health. 2015;40(1):153-160. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24981322. doi: 10.1007/s10900-014-9913-z