Alison Field

Professor and Chair of Epidemiology
Alison Field

Alison Field joined Brown University in 2015 and the PSTC in 2018. She is a public health researcher specializing in nutritional, pediatric, and psychiatric epidemiology. Her research focuses on determining the optimal classification for eating disorders and identifying the modifiable causes, correlates, consequences, and course of overweight and eating disorders among children, adolescents, and adult women.  

Much of her current research uses data from the Growing Up Today Study (GUTS), a prospective cohort study of youth she helped to established in 1996 to assess the predictors of dietary intake, activity, and weight gain and is still ongoing in 2016, with a younger cohort, GUTS II, established in 2004. Her early research on eating disorders focused on identifying the personal, peer, family, and media influences on starting to binge eating, purge, or develop an eating disorder. 

Field is currently investigating how eating disorders should be best classified. Her current project uses data from GUTS, and also youth in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), a birth cohort in the United Kingdom. Her findings were used by the working group who revised the eating disorder diagnostic criteria in 2013. Future revisions will hopefully also address gender differences in presentation, course, and risk. The latter is highlighted in her paper that was published in JAMA Pediatrics, which is the first large study to shows the distribution of a range of eating disorders in males and how they relate to the development of adverse outcomes.

In addition to the studies on eating disorders, Field is investigating the associations of intake of soda, diet soda, sports drinks, fast food, and take out food with BMI gain and the development of obesity among youth in the GUTS II cohort. In addition, she is working with researchers involved in the Longitudinal Assessment of Bariatric Surgery (LABS)  study to identify obesity subtypes. 

Selected Publications

Eating disorder behaviours amongst adolescents: investigating classification, persistence, and prospective associations with adverse outcomes using latent class models. Field, A.E. et al. European Child &  Adolescent Psychiatry. 2016.

Cesarean birth and risk of offspring obesity in childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood. Field, A.E. et al. JAMA Pediatrics. 2016.  

Secular Trends in Family Dinner Frequency among Adolescents. Field, A.E. et al. BMC Res Notes. 2016, 9(1): 35.

Field, A.E. et al. Achieving cardiovascular health in young adulthood – which adolescent factors matter? Journal of Adolescent Health 2016, 58(1): 119-21.

Scholarly Interests

Eating disorders, Nutrition, Obesity, Public Health

Affiliated Departments

School of Public Health