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Chair, Department of Anthropology
Professor

Biological Anthropologist

althomps@email.unc.edu
919-843-2060
Alumni Building 302
Website

Research Interests

Child Growth and Development, Nutrition, Microbiome, Dual Burden, Infant Feeding

Research Background

I am a human biologist specializing in human growth and nutrition. I focus on the biological pathways linking early life social, behavioral and physical environments to health outcomes across a range of national and international settings, including North Carolina, China, and Ecuador. I am particularly interested in how early life nutrition and environmental exposures shape the development of obesity and chronic disease. My current projects focus on: the effects of early exposures on the development of the intestinal microbiome, immune function and obesity; the structural, social, maternal and infant characteristics contributing to infant feeding practices and the development of an obesogenic environment; and the physical and social environmental exposures, particularly those around food and water, associated with the development of dual burden in low and middle income countries.

Education

PhD, Emory University, 2007; MPH, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, 2007; A.B., Harvard University, 1999

Previous Courses

ANTH 217: Human Biology in Comparative Perspective
ANTH 471: Biocultural Perspectives on Maternal and Child Health
ANTH 897: Human Biology and Population Health
ANTH 897: Integrating Social and Biological Perspectives on Human Health

Publications

(In press) Thompson, AL, LS Adair, and ME Bentley ‘Whatever average is:’ understanding African-American mothers’ perceptions of infant weight, growth and health. Current Anthropology

2014 Thompson, AL, KM Houck, LS Adair, P Gordon-Larsen, S Du, B Zhang, and BM Popkin. Associations between Pathogenic and Obesogenic Factors and Inflammation in Chinese children, adolescents, and adults. American Journal of Human Biology. 26:18-28

2013 Thompson, AL and ME Bentley, The critical period of infant feeding for the development of early disparities in obesity. Social Science and Medicine. 97: 288-296

2013 Thompson, AL Intergenerational impact of maternal obesity and postnatal feeding practices on pediatric obesity. Nutrition Reviews. 71: S55-S61

2013 Thompson, AL and M Lampl Prenatal and postnatal energetic conditions and sex steroids levels across the first year of life. American Journal of Human Biology. 25:643–654

2013 Turner, BL and AL Thompson Beyond the Paleolithic Prescription: Incorporating diversity and flexibility in the study of human diet evolution. Nutrition Reviews. 7: 501-510. (lead article)

2013 Thompson, AL, LS Adair and ME Bentley. Pressuring and restrictive feeding styles influence infant feeding and size among a low-income African-American sample. Obesity. 21(3): 532-571

2013 Thompson, AL, LS Adair, and ME Bentley Maternal characteristics and perception of infant temperament associated with television exposure in African-American infants. Pediatrics 131(2): e390-e397

2012 Thompson, AL. Developmental origins of obesity: early feeding environments, infant growth and the intestinal microbiome. American Journal of Human Biology. 24(3): 350-360

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