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Karen Peterson

Karen E. Peterson, D.Sc.

Professor of Environmental Health Sciences

Director of the Momentum Center

6610 SPH Tower      Vcard icon
1415 Washington Heights
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-2029

Fax: (734) 936-7283; (734) 647-1923

E-mail: karenep@umich.edu

Website(s): Momentum Center

Professional Summary

Dr. Peterson is Professor and Director of the Human Nutrition Program for the School of Public Health, Research Professor for the Center for Human Growth and Development, and Director of the Momentum Center, all at the University of Michigan. She is also an Adjunct Professor of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health. Her research focuses on the influence of biosocial and environmental influences on child growth and maturation during sensitive developmental periods, as well as the design and evaluation of population-based interventions addressing dietary and physical activity behaviors related to obesity and chronic disease in diverse populations, including children and youth. She is Contact PI for the U-M Children’s Environmental Health and Disease Protection Center on the theme: “Lifecourse exposures and diet: Epigenetics, maturation, and metabolic syndrome,” and serves as Associate Director of the Michigan Nutrition and Obesity Research Center (MNORC). She earned her ScD in Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Courses Taught

EHS677: Physical Growth and Maturation


D.Sc., Harvard University, 1987
R.D., Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, 1977

Research Interests & Projects

> > Hu Lab - Michigan Enviromental Molecular Epidemiology Research Group (Member)

The Mission of the Michigan Environmental Molecular Epidemiology Research Group (EMERG) is to gain new insights into the impacts of exposure to potentially toxicants that are of critical importance to public health and medicine by applying multi-disciplinary and novel methods of exposure assessment, genetics, epigenetics, nutrition, psychosocial factors and clinical measurements in epidemiologic studies of human populations around the world.... More >>

Michigan Metals Epidemiology Research Group 

> > Lead Exposure (Principal Investigator)

This project aims to understand the developmental effects of early life lead exposure, specifically related to early childhood growth and sexual maturation. Epigenomic analyses will be used in concert with an epidemiological approach in an effort to understand the molecular mechanisms linking exposure and biological consequences.... More >>


Selected Publications

Search PubMed for publications by Karen Peterson >>

Lindsay, A.C., K.M. Sussner, M.L. Greaney and K.E. Peterson (2009). Influence of social context on eating, physical activity and sedentary behaviors of Latina mothers and their preschool-age children. Health Education & Behavior, 1, 81-96.

Surkan, P., I. Kawachi and K.E. Peterson (2008). Child overweight and maternal depressive symptoms. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 62(5), e11.

Peterson, K.E., J.R. Hebert, T. Hurley, K. Resnicow, F.E. Thompson, G.W. Greene, A.R. Shaikh, A. Yaroch, G.C. Williams, J. Saldeld, D.J. Toobert, A. Domas, D.L. Elliot, J. Hardin and L. Hebeling (2008). Accuracy and precision of two short screeners to assess change in fruit and vegetable consumption among diverse populations participating in health promotion intervention trials. Journal of Nutrition, 138, 218S-225S.

Kim, J. and K.E. Peterson (2008). Association of infant child care with infant feeding practices and weight gain among U.S. infants. Arch Pediatric Adolescent Medicine, 162, 627-633.

Peterson, K.E. and M.K. Fox (2007). Addressing the epidemic of childhood obesity through school-based interventions: what has been done and where do we go from here? Journal of Law and Medical Ethics, 35(1), 113-130.

Kim, J., K.E. Peterson, K.S. Scanlon, G.M. Fitzmaurice, A. Must, E. Oken, S.L. Rifas-Shiman, J.W. Rich-Edwards and M.W. Gillman (2007). Trends in overweight from 1980 through 2001 among preschool-aged children enrolled in a health maintenance organization. Obesity, 14(7), 1107-112.

Chavarro, J.E., K.E. Peterson, A.M. Sobol, J.L. Wiecha and S.L. Gortmaker (2005). Effects of a school-based obesity-prevention intervention on menarche. Cancer Causes and Control, 16(10), 1245-1252.

Peterson, K.E., M. Salganik, C. Campbell, G.G. Rhoads, J. Rubin, O. Berger, J.H. Ware and W. Rogan (2004). Effect of succimer on growth of preschool children with moderate blood lead levels. Environmental Health Perspective, 112(2), 233-237.