Behavior Technology Laboratory: Eating Disorders and Obesity Laboratory

RESEARCH FOCUS

To investigate the impact of technologically advanced programs for eating disorders, weight management, and body image disturbance on health behaviors.

The  Behavior Technology Laboratory conducts research on behavioral approaches  for the assessment, prevention, and treatment of eating disorders,  obesity, and body image disturbance. This research involves testing the  efficacy of community-based, clinic-based, and internet/technologically  advanced mobilebased (e.g. Smartphones) interventions for changes in  health behaviors.

Weight Measurements and Standards  for Soldiers. As  a part of the Weight Measurements and Standards for Soldiers Project, the Healthy Eating, Activity, and Lifestyle  Training Headquarters (H.E.A.L.T.H.)  program was developed at PBRC and represents an ongoing, ten-year  collaborative effort between PBRC and the Department of Defense. The  H.E.A.L.T.H. program is designed to aid Soldiers in maintaining healthy  weight status, fitness status, combat readiness, and Warfighter  performance. H.E.A.L.T.H. also includes programming to aid Soldiers  family members in reaching overall health and fitness goals. H.E.A.L.T.H.  incorporates cutting edge interactive technology and is portable (e.g.  Internet, Smartphone) so Soldiers and their family members can use it wherever  they are in the world. H.E.A.L.T.H. is considered a population health  program, has been deployed and tested in two pilot projects (Ft. Bragg,  NC, and New England Reserves), and is being tested in the Louisiana Army  National Guard (LANG). This study is expected to result in dissemination  of the H.E.A.L.T.H. program to all branches of the Military and improve  combat readiness for our technologically advanced fighting force.

Healthy Weight Intervention in  Female Athletes. Given  the cost of treating eating disorders (EDs) and the substantial morbidity and  mortality associated with these disorders, prevention of EDs has  considerable public health significance. Research supports the use of a Healthy Weight (HW) program targeting small  lifestyle modifications in the prevention of ED onset and in reducing ED  and obesity risk factors. Research suggests that disordered eating among  female athletes is prevalent, and is especially dangerous in female  athletes because it increases risk for the Female Athlete Triad (i.e., low  energy availability/disordered eating, menstrual disorders, and decreased  bone mineral density/ osteoporosis) and subsequent injury. This study is a  cluster randomized controlled trial to test the effectiveness of the HW intervention  among 500 collegiate female athletes in four sites.

Body Evolution Technologies (BE). BE is a company formed to  commercialize evidence-based health behavior technology and is an  entrepreneurial venture (formed as a result of scientific discovery at  PBRC) funded by angel and venture capital investors. BE adapts  evidence-based offline approaches into online/digital experiences, i.e.  learning programs including interactive, digital media applications, and  health e-games (e.g. Internet, Smartphone, ipad apps) that address a wide  range of health behaviors including body image, eating disorders, and  weight management. The programs and assessment tools are integrated within a  social network environment to reinforce learning and promote adherence.  These programs reside on Emer.ge, an e-health, online platform. BE  is currently engaged in a number of partnerships including with Delta  Delta Delta Fraternity, to deliver eating disorder prevention to large  scale populations, e.g. university students. 

Research in this laboratory is funded by the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Defense, and Themelios Ventures.

FACULTY

Tiffany Stewart, Ph.D.