The research lab of Dr. Sarah A. Keim conducts clinical research, including observational epidemiologic studies as well as clinical trials. We are interested in prenatal and early childhood influences on child growth and development. As the first six years of life are extremely critical, our studies explore the many environmental, social, and individual factors within this time period.
We are particularly interested in one critical influence – good nutrition. Animal studies tell us that proper nutrition early in life is essential for healthy development and prevention of chronic disease in adulthood. However, evidence-based studies of human nutrition are still lacking in many ways. We explore how and what families feed infants, toddlers, and young children, to address this these knowledge gaps. We are also interested in the changing nature of breastfeeding in contemporary society, and how early maternal nutrition choices may impact child growth.
Beyond exploring environmental and social influences on childhood, much of our work focuses on a special group of children – those who are born prematurely. Several studies have documented the potential life-long challenges that premature babies face in many areas, including development, behavior, and growth. Early interventions are important to help children but many begin in late childhood (i.e. when a child is ready for school) or early childhood (i.e. when a child is within the NICU), few studies examine the critical development that occurs in between. Our work hopes to fill this gap, to understand whether certain dietary interventions can help these children reach their best potential. We involve children who are 1-6 years old in our studies – a time when so many skills and abilities are emerging, yet it is also a time when many developmental disabilities and behavior problems are noticed. We hope our studies can influence medical and educational programs, to provide children and parents with the resources they need for healthy growth and development!
To learn more or inquire about job opportunities, contact Andria Parrott, PhD at Andria.Parrott@nationwidechildrens.org.
- The Allen Foundation
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- Cures Within Reach
- Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA)
- March of Dimes
- The Marci and Bill Ingram Fund for Autism Spectrum Disorders Research
- National Institutes of Health (NIH)