Protecting Kids from Eating Disorders


ProKEDS is collaborative study by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University funded by the Interdisciplinary Obesity Research Center. This study hopes to lay the groundwork for prevention efforts by studying children whose parents have had anorexia nervosa. The goal of the UNC-Duke study is to begin to paint a complete picture of children of women who have histories of anorexia nervosa by understanding the thinking, eating, and physical activity patterns of their female children who are between the ages of 8-12. The study brings moms and their girls into our special lab to participate in several activities including computer games, interviews, exercise monitoring, and meals. Researchers are sensitive to the attention span of the children and also to the sensitivities around disclosing a history of an eating disorder to your child. Participation in this study will in no way reveal a parent’s history of an eating disorder. We will study mother-daughter teams of both moms who have had anorexia nervosa and moms with no history of an eating disorder.

The ProKEDS Team

Cindy photoCynthia M. Bulik, Ph.D., FAED is a Distinguished Professor of Eating Disorders in the Department of Psychiatry in the School of Medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she is also Professor of Nutrition in the School of Public Health and the Director of the UNC Eating Disorders Program. Since she received her doctorate in 1988 in clinical psychology from the University of California at Berkeley, she has been actively involved in developing treatment programs and conducting research on eating disorders. Her work has focused on all aspects of eating disorders from genetics to treatment. Dr. Bulik has written over 300 scientific papers and chapters on eating disorders and is author of the books Eating Disorders: Detection and Treatment (Dunmore), Runaway Eating: The 8 Point Plan to Conquer Adult Food and Weight Obsessions (Rodale), and a soon to be released book Crave: Why You Binge Eat and How to Stop (Bloomsbury). She has won several awards including the Eating Disorders Coalition Research Award and the Academy for Eating Disorders Leadership Award for Research and has served as president of the Academy for Eating Disorders and Vice President of the Eating Disorders Coalition. She holds the first endowed professorship in eating disorders in the United States.

Kimberly Brownley, PhDDr. Kimberly Brownley, PhD is an Assistant Professor in the UNC Department of Psychiatry and a principal faculty member of the UNC Stress and Health Research Program. She received her Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1996) and completed a postdoctoral research and clinical training fellowship in Behavioral Medicine at the University of Miami, FL (1997-1999). Dr. Brownley’s current research focuses on hormonal regulation of appetite in the context of ethnic disparities in obesity, psychotropic medication-induced weight gain, functional gastrointestinal disorders, and the menstrual cycle. She has authored several papers on disordered eating and is a recipient of a 2008 Young Investigator Award from the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression to study the therapeutic potential of chromium supplementation in binge eating disorder. Other collaborative works in progress with the UNC Eating Disorders Program focus on biomarkers of stress and affiliation/support in couples dealing with anorexia nervosa and in mothers with eating disorders and their young children. Dr. Brownley is a member of the UNC Interdisciplinary Obesity Center and the UNC General Clinical Research Center Advisory Committee, and she serves as an Associate Editor for The International Journal of Psychophysiology.

Nancy ZuckerNancy Zucker, PhD is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Duke University Medical Center and Director of the Duke Eating Disorders Program. She is a licensed clinical psychologist with expertise in the areas of eating disorders and the development of parenting interventions in the context of disordered eating.