My research interests include how environmental factors, broadly conceived to include sociocultural, biological and physical influences, affect human development and health. I am particularly interested in the physiological mediation of environmental factors (both physical and cultural), and the socioeconomic, psychosocial, epigenetic mechanisms that may explain observed populational health differentials. My current research focuses on biocultural factors influencing childhood obesity, maternal-child health, menopause, and dietary lifestyle and health. I began conducting research on menopause in Japan over 10 years ago, and the results led me to pose new questions about the relationship of diet and other mediating factors with later life health.
Current research questions include:
(1) What are the relationships between the ‘cultural domains’ of problems, causes, and solutions related to diet, and the relationship with health disparities, socioeconomic and demographic factors contributing to inter-individual variation in dietary habits? Secondarily, how large is the gap between public health professionals and lay people in their understandings of dietary-related cultural domains?
(2) What are the multigenerational, prenatal, and early infant influences on the developmental origins of obesity and metabolic syndrome?
(3) What are biological and cultural factors influencing the experience of menopause in midlife health among Japanese women?