- 2011-2017: Honorary Researcher University Paris 13, Bobigny, France
- 2000-2011: Researcher at the National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM), Head of the Childhood obesity group of the “Research Unit in Nutritional Epidemiology”
- 1991-1999: Researcher at the INSERM 290 Unit.
- 1989-1990: MRC scholarship: Institute of Child Health London
- 1974-1989: Researcher in the Nutrition Department at INSERM
1978: Doctorate in Biological Sciences (PhD). Specialty: Nutrition (University Paris VII)
1971: Diplôme d'Etudes Approfondies in Nutrition (Master of Science). Specialty: Cellular Nutrition (University Paris VI)
1970: Maîtrise de Sciences en Physiologie (University Paris VI).
Vice president of the European Childhood Obesity Group (ECOG) 2008-2010
Research interests and experience
My main field of research is the epidemiology of childhood obesity: assessment (body composition), determinants, treatment and prevention.
I started investigating the problem of childhood obesity investigating the assessment and definition of childhood obesity. In 1982, I validated the use of the Body Mass Index (BMI) in children and published the first BMI growth charts (Am J Clin Nutr, 1982). I participated in the WHO document, WHO (1995) on Physical status, initiating the use of BMI charts to assess weight categories in children.
In 1984, I developed the concept of “Adiposity rebound” (Am J Clin Nutr, 1984) as an indicator predicting the future risk of obesity, which is widely used nowadays.
In 1989-1990, I worked in collaboration with Pr TJ Cole at the Institute of Child Health (London), and built growth charts using the LMS method (Eur J Clin Nutr, 1991).
Based on the Jelliffe formula, in collaboration with the research team of Pr Chiumello in Milan, I validated a new, simpler and more accurate index of Arm Fat and Muscle Areas for children (Am J Clin Nutr, 1997) also applicable in adults in collaboration with P Brambilla from Milan (Int J Obes, 2005).
In 1985, I initiated a longitudinal study (20 years follow up), to identify the factors responsible for an early adiposity rebound and found an association between excess protein intake and an early adiposity rebound. The results of this study demonstrated the nutrient imbalance of the infant diet and stimulated a large number of studies in this area. This hypothesis was confirmed by several observational studies and by the European intervention study (Childhood Obesity Project: CHOP)
In another study, I investigated the effect of various dietary treatments in obese adolescents, showing no advantage of high protein diets. The secondary objective of this study was to examine the factors associated with success and failure of treatment 3 years after baseline. An early adiposity rebound and maternal obesity were associated with relapse.
I am presently involved in a number of epidemiological studies on the prevalence of childhood obesity in France and other countries (Europe, Brazil). I am responsible for the anthropometric aspects in various studies, in France and in Europe.
The originality of my research is to investigate the association between environmental factors (nutrition, physical activity) particularly in early life and later body composition and health, on the basis of long follow-up including a large variety of parameters.
80 articles in main international journals and 3 Awards