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Dr. Sabina B. Gesell

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Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine

391 Technology Way

Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27157

United States

Company Description

The Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine is dedicated to the discovery, development and clinical translation of regenerative medicine technologies. The institute has used biomaterials alone, cell therapies, and engineered tissues and organs for ... more

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Background Information

Employment History

Assistant Professor of Social Sciences and Health Policy

Wake Forest University

Assistant Professor of Pediatrics

Vanderbilt University

Research Product Manager Research and Development

Press Ganey Associates Inc



Web References (70 Total References)

NCCOR National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research [cached]

Sabina Gesell, Ph.D., research assistant professor of Pediatrics, will build and measure new social networks of families enrolled in the study and examine the impact.

NCCOR National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research [cached]

Vanderbilt's Sabina Gesell, Ph.D., research assistant professor of pediatrics, is first author of a study in the June issue of the journal Pediatrics that examines the group effect of peers on activity levels of children in afterschool care programs.

In fact, a network of four to five immediate friends has a significant influence on any individual child regardless of their usual activity level," Gesell said.
The results showed more active groups tended to draw a child up into greater activity levels, while groups that tended toward sedentary activities brought an individual child's levels down.
"The average activity level of the group of friends is what influences an individual child. Children are constantly adjusting their activity levels to match their peer group," Gesell said.
The researchers also examined whether children preferentially select groups based on activity level, perhaps choosing peers whose activity levels were similar to their own, but surprisingly, they found no such association. Children choose friends with other similarities (like being the same gender, age), but activity levels did not seem to be factor.
Gesell said this is exciting because more than 8 million children of working parents typically spend one to three hours per day in afterschool programs, making this an ideal place to get kids to be more active. Adjusting the makeup of playgroups to place children at-risk for obesity into groups with an activity level that is higher than their own is likely to influence them to be more active, too.
Before testing such an intervention in the real world, Gesell will experiment with computer simulations to determine the tipping point at which embedding too many inactive kids in a playgroup will bring down the active kids' activity levels.
"If you look at childhood obesity efforts across the country, many have failed to look at social context. It is important that we look at all the forces in play and intentionally leverage them to have a maximal impact," Gesell said.

Peer Pressure Keeps Kids Active And Alive | SecureTeen [cached]

Sabina Gesell, a research assistant professor in pediatrics at the Vanderbilt School of Medicine, and her fellow researchers published their reports in the journal Pediatric, on the positive impact of peer pressure on children. The scientists studied a network of friends falling in the age group of 5 to 12 and the study was conducted on these children in an after-school program. One of the primary reasons for conducting this study was to record muscle movements of kids on a pedometer-like device, and through this process the researchers kept track of the physical activity of kids over a period of 12 weeks.

Gesell and her colleagues made sure that the kids who were put under observation did not know each other well for the sole reason that it would help the researchers track the social habits of kids by following a credible system.
"We see evidence that the children are mirroring, emulating or adjusting to be similar to their friends," says Gesell.
Since the entire research was conducted on the topic of obesity and physical activity among children, Gesell had this to say about the positive influence of a peer group on a child, "This is a novel approach to obesity prevention ... None of the approaches to combating obesity are really working now, and we need a new approach.

Friendships influence kids' activity levels | - The most comprehensive source of foot health and foot care information (foot pain, heel pain) [cached]

"We tend to think of teenagers as being very influential amongst their peers, but now we'reseeing this in a younger age group as well," said study author Sabina Gesell, assistant professor of Pediatrics at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. Read the full articlehere.

Georgiann Caruso's post on CNN Health ... [cached]

Georgiann Caruso's post on CNN Health blog reports that research by Sabina Gesell, assistant professor of Pediatrics at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, shows that "their social network of friends can greatly influence how much they move."

According to Gesell, the friends of younger children can cause them to move less or to move more. The study results indicate that, "When given the choice to keep their activity levels the same or change them to match those of their peers, children were six times more likely to choosethe latter. She views the use of social networks can help in the fight against childhood obesity. Since many children are enrolled in after-school programs, Gesell suggests that those program administrators should rearrange the playgroups so that members of more sedentary groups are grouped with more active children.

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