Jill Kaar, PhD
Associate Professor, Pediatrics-Endocrinology

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Graduate Schools :
  • MS, University of Pittsburgh (2003)
  • PhD, University of Pittsburgh (2007)
Undergraduate School:
  • BS, University of Pittsburgh (PA) (2002)
Fellowships:
  • University of Cambridge (England) (2010)
Languages: English
Department: Pediatrics-Endocrinology

Professional Titles

  • Director of Postdoctoral Research Education
  • Director of Research Outcomes in Children's Surgery Program
  • Fellow of the American Heart Association (FAHA)
  • Editorial Board for journal of Sleep Health

Recognition & Awards

  • Supporting Women in Medical Sciences Outstanding Peer Mentor Award, Supporting Women in Medical Sciences (SWIMS) (2018)

Research Interests

As a behavioral epidemiologist, I study how health behaviors (i.e., sleep, diet, and activity), impact the health (i.e., obesity, type 2 diabetes (T2D), early risk factors for cardiovascular disease) and well-being (i.e., indicators of mental health, depression, anxiety) of children and adolescents. I use observational methods via both quantitative and qualitative methodologies to first identify key associations with health behaviors and disease risk, and then use these findings to guide intervention strategies with potential for widespread dissemination and implementation. At this time, I am principal investigator for three active intervention protocols that use both clinical and school-based designs to change behaviors of children and adolescents. All active protocols have a sleep intervention component and are focused on improving mental and/or physical health of pediatric populations. I have worked in the field of pediatric weight management for almost fifteen years. First, as a dietician at a children’s hospital outpatient weight management clinic and on others’ research protocols and now I am the principal investigator for my own research studies targeting health outcomes (i.e., weight loss, prevention of T2D) and well-being (i.e., building resilience, coping skills, decreasing symptoms of depression and anxiety) in pediatric populations. My primary research focus is examining the mediating effect of sleep duration on the relationship between health behaviors, diet and activity, and overall health in children and adolescents.

Teaching

  • Director of Postdoctoral Research Education (2018)
    School of Medicine, Pediatrics
    Epidemiology, Research Methods and Design, Grant Writing, Evaluation of Literature
  • Outcomes Research Methodologist (2019)
    School of Medicine, Pediatrics
    Research Outcomes in Children’s Surgery (ROCS) Program; Center for Children’s Surgery
  • Director, Research Outcomes in Children's Surgery (ROCS) Program; Center for Children's Surgery (2021)
    School of Medicine, Pediatrics

Publications

  • Lee JA, Heberlein E, Pyle E, Caughlan T, Rahaman D, Sabin M, Kaar JL. Evaluation of a Resiliency Focused Health Coaching Intervention for Middle School Students: Building Resilience for Healthy Kids Program. Am J Health Promot. 2020 Sep 22;:890117120959152. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 32959670
  • Cree-Green M, Carreau AM, Davis SM, Frohnert BI, Kaar JL, Ma NS, Nokoff NJ, Reusch JEB, Simon SL, Nadeau KJ. Peer mentoring for professional and personal growth in academic medicine. J Investig Med. 2020 Aug;68(6):1128-1134. PubMed PMID: 32641352
  • Kaar JL, Schmiege SJ, Drews K, Higgins J, Walders-Abramson N, Isganaitis E, Willi SM, Marcus MD, Zeitler PS, Kelsey MM. Evaluation of the longitudinal change in health behavior profiles across treatment groups in the TODAY clinical trial. Pediatr Diabetes. 2020 Mar;21(2):224-232. PubMed PMID: 31886931
  • Kaar JL, Schmiege SJ, Kalkwarf HJ, Woo JG, Daniels SR, Simon SL. Longitudinal Assessment of Sleep Trajectories during Early Childhood and Their Association with Obesity. Child Obes. 2020 Apr;16(3):211-217. PubMed PMID: 31750742
  • Simon SL, Diniz Behn C, Laikin A, Kaar JL, Rahat H, Cree-Green M, Wright KP Jr, Nadeau KJ. Sleep & Circadian Health are Associated with Mood & Behavior in Adolescents with Overweight/Obesity. Behav Sleep Med. 2020 Jul-Aug;18(4):550-559. PubMed PMID: 31218887
  • Kaar JL, Schmiege SJ, Kalkwarf HJ, Woo JG, Daniels SR, Simon SL. Longitudinal Assessment of Sleep Trajectories During Early Childhood and Their Association with Obesity. Child Obes. 2019 Nov 21. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 31750742
  • Davis SM, Kaar JL, Ringham BM, Hockett CW, Glueck DH, Dabelea D. Sex differences in infant body composition emerge in the first 5 months of life. J Pediatr Endocrinol Metab. 2019 Nov 26;32(11):1235-1239. PubMed PMID: 31483758
  • Tovar A, Kaar JL, McCurdy K, Field AE, Dabelea D, Vadiveloo M. Maternal vegetable intake during and after pregnancy. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2019 Jul 26;19(1):267. PubMed PMID: 31349808
  • Simon SL, Diniz Behn C, Laikin A, Kaar JL, Rahat H, Cree-Green M, Wright KP Jr, Nadeau KJ. Sleep & Circadian Health are Associated with Mood & Behavior in Adolescents with Overweight/Obesity. Behav Sleep Med. 2019 Jun 20;:1-10. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 31218887
  • Simon SL, McWhirter L, Diniz Behn C, Bubar KM, Kaar JL, Pyle L, Rahat H, Garcia-Reyes Y, Carreau AM, Wright KP, Nadeau KJ, Cree-Green M. Morning Circadian Misalignment Is Associated With Insulin Resistance in Girls With Obesity and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2019 Aug 1;104(8):3525-3534. PubMed PMID: 30888398
  • Kaar JL, Sauder KA, Shapiro AL, Starling AP, Ringham BM, Johnson SL, Dabelea D. Infant Feeding Practices In a Diverse Group of Women: The Healthy Start Study. Clin Med Insights Pediatr. 2019;13:1179556518824362. PubMed PMID: 30718970
  • McCurdy K, Tovar A, Kaar JL, Vadiveloo M. Pathways between maternal depression, the family environment, and child BMI z scores. Appetite. 2019 Mar 1;134:148-154. PubMed PMID: 30599152
  • Simon SL, Behn CD, Cree-Green M, Kaar JL, Pyle L, Hawkins SMM, Rahat H, Garcia-Reyes Y, Wright KP Jr, Nadeau KJ. Too Late and Not Enough: School Year Sleep Duration, Timing, and Circadian Misalignment Are Associated with Reduced Insulin Sensitivity in Adolescents with Overweight/Obesity. J Pediatr. 2019 Feb;205:257-264.e1. PubMed PMID: 30497764
  • Davis SM, Kaar JL, Ringham BM, Hockett CW, Glueck DH, Dabelea D. Sex differences in infant body composition emerge in the first 5 months of life. J Pediatr Endocrinol Metab. 2019 Nov 26;32(11):1235-1239. PubMed PMID: 31483758
  • Tovar A, Kaar JL, McCurdy K, Field AE, Dabelea D, Vadiveloo M. Maternal vegetable intake during and after pregnancy. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2019 Jul 26;19(1):267. PubMed PMID: 31349808
  • Simon SL, McWhirter L, Diniz Behn C, Bubar KM, Kaar JL, Pyle L, Rahat H, Garcia-Reyes Y, Carreau AM, Wright KP, Nadeau KJ, Cree-Green M. Morning Circadian Misalignment Is Associated With Insulin Resistance in Girls With Obesity and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2019 Aug 1;104(8):3525-3534. PubMed PMID: 30888398
  • Kaar JL, Sauder KA, Shapiro AL, Starling AP, Ringham BM, Johnson SL, Dabelea D. Infant Feeding Practices In a Diverse Group of Women: The Healthy Start Study. Clin Med Insights Pediatr. 2019;13:1179556518824362. PubMed PMID: 30718970
  • McCurdy K, Tovar A, Kaar JL, Vadiveloo M. Pathways between maternal depression, the family environment, and child BMI z scores. Appetite. 2019 Mar 1;134:148-154. PubMed PMID: 30599152
  • Simon SL, Behn CD, Cree-Green M, Kaar JL, Pyle L, Hawkins SMM, Rahat H, Garcia-Reyes Y, Wright KP Jr, Nadeau KJ. Too Late and Not Enough: School Year Sleep Duration, Timing, and Circadian Misalignment Are Associated with Reduced Insulin Sensitivity in Adolescents with Overweight/Obesity. J Pediatr. 2019 Feb;205:257-264.e1. PubMed PMID: 30497764
  • Kaar JL, Schmiege SJ, Vadiveloo M, Simon SL, Tovar A. Sleep duration mediates the relationship between health behavior patterns and obesity. Sleep Health. 2018 Oct;4(5):442-447. PubMed PMID: 30241659
  • Andersen LM, Boles RE, Kaar JL, Gance-Cleveland B, Gauthier KI, Cason-Wilkerson R, Federspiel D, Valenzuela M, Thompson DA. Use of the Delphi Technique to Obtain Community Input on Leading Contributors to Early Childhood Obesity in Latino Communities. Hisp Health Care Int. 2018 Sep 12;:1540415318798839. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 30207164
  • Kaar JL, Schmiege SJ, Vadiveloo M, Simon SL, Tovar A. Sleep duration mediates the relationship between health behavior patterns and obesity. Sleep Health. 2018 Oct;4(5):442-447. PubMed PMID: 30241659
  • Andersen LM, Boles RE, Kaar JL, Gance-Cleveland B, Gauthier KI, Cason-Wilkerson R, Federspiel D, Valenzuela M, Thompson DA. Use of the Delphi Technique to Obtain Community Input on Leading Contributors to Early Childhood Obesity in Latino Communities. Hisp Health Care Int. 2018 Sep;16(3):113-119. PubMed PMID: 30207164
  • Tigges BB, Kaar JL, Erbstein N, Silberman P, Winseck K, Lopez-Class M, Burbacher TM. Effectiveness of community outreach and engagement in recruitment success for a prebirth cohort. J Clin Transl Sci. 2017 Jun;1(3):184-191. PubMed PMID: 29082032
  • Kaar JL, Luberto CM, Campbell KA, Huffman JC. Sleep, health behaviors, and behavioral interventions: Reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease in adults. World J Cardiol. 2017 May 26;9(5):396-406. PubMed PMID: 28603586
  • Starling AP, Sauder KA, Kaar JL, Shapiro AL, Siega-Riz AM, Dabelea D. Maternal Dietary Patterns during Pregnancy Are Associated with Newborn Body Composition. J Nutr. 2017 Jul;147(7):1334-1339. PubMed PMID: 28539412
  • Kaar JL, Simon SL, Schmiege SJ, Nadeau KJ, Kelsey MM. Adolescent's Health Behaviors and Risk for Insulin Resistance: A Review of the Literature. Curr Diab Rep. 2017 Jul;17(7):49. PubMed PMID: 28526994
  • Starling AP, Shapiro ALB, Sauder KA, Kaar JL, Ringham BM, Glueck DH, Galan HL, Dabelea D. Blood pressure during pregnancy, neonatal size and altered body composition: the Healthy Start study. J Perinatol. 2017 May;37(5):502-506. PubMed PMID: 28181996
  • Sauder KA, Kaar JL, Starling AP, Ringham BM, Glueck DH, Dabelea D. Predictors of Infant Body Composition at 5 Months of Age: The Healthy Start Study. J Pediatr. 2017 Apr;183:94-99.e1. PubMed PMID: 28161200
  • Vos MB, Kaar JL, Welsh JA, Van Horn LV, Feig DI, Anderson CAM, Patel MJ, Cruz Munos J, Krebs NF, Xanthakos SA, Johnson RK. Added Sugars and Cardiovascular Disease Risk in Children: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2017 May 9;135(19):e1017-e1034. PubMed PMID: 27550974
  • Vos MB, Kaar JL, Welsh JA, Van Horn LV, Feig DI, Anderson CA, Patel MJ, Cruz Munos J, Krebs NF, Xanthakos SA, Johnson RK. Added Sugars and Cardiovascular Disease Risk in Children: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2016 Aug 22. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 27550974
  • Kaar JL, Markovic N, Amsden LB, Gilliland J, Shorter CF, Peters B, Nachreiner NM, Garel M, Nicholas W, Skarpness B, Drews-Botsch C, Hogue CJ, Dabelea D. The Experience of Direct Outreach Recruitment in the National Children's Study. Pediatrics. 2016 Jun;137 Suppl 4:S258-64. PubMed PMID: 27251872
  • Hudak ML, Park CH, Annett RD, Hale DE, McGovern PM, McLaughlin TJ, Dole N, Kaar JL, Balsam MJ. The National Children's Study: An Introduction and Historical Overview. Pediatrics. 2016 Jun;137 Suppl 4:S213-8. PubMed PMID: 27251867
  • Shapiro AL, Kaar JL, Crume TL, Starling AP, Siega-Riz AM, Ringham BM, Glueck DH, Norris JM, Barbour LA, Friedman JE, Dabelea D. Maternal diet quality in pregnancy and neonatal adiposity: the Healthy Start Study. Int J Obes (Lond). 2016 Jul;40(7):1056-62. PubMed PMID: 27133623
  • Sauder KA, Starling AP, Shapiro AL, Kaar JL, Ringham BM, Glueck DH, Leiferman JA, Siega-Riz AM, Dabelea D. Diet, physical activity and mental health status are associated with dysglycaemia in pregnancy: the Healthy Start Study. Diabet Med. 2016 May;33(5):663-7. PubMed PMID: 26872289
  • Sauder KA, Starling AP, Shapiro AL, Kaar JL, Ringham BM, Glueck DH, Dabelea D. Exploring the association between maternal prenatal multivitamin use and early infant growth: The Healthy Start Study. Pediatr Obes. 2016 Oct;11(5):434-41. PubMed PMID: 26663829
  • Li C, Beech B, Crume T, D'Agostino RB Jr, Dabelea D, Kaar JL, Liese AD, Mayer-Davis EJ, Pate R, Pettitt DJ, Taplin C, Rodriguez B, Merchant AT. Longitudinal association between television watching and computer use and risk markers in diabetes in the SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth Study. Pediatr Diabetes. 2015 Aug;16(5):382-91. PubMed PMID: 25041407
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Professional Memberships

  • Sleep Research Society (SRS), Member
  • American Heart Association (AHA), Member
  • AHA Council on Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health, Member
  • Academic Pediatric Association (APA), Member
  • Society for Prevention Research, Member
  • American Association of Suicidology, Member
  • Western Society of Pediatric Research, Member
Public Speaking
Yes

General Information

Graduate Schools:
  • MS, University of Pittsburgh (2003)
  • PhD, University of Pittsburgh (2007)
Undergraduate Schools:
  • BS, University of Pittsburgh (PA) (2002)
Fellowships:
  • University of Cambridge (England) (2010)
Languages: English
Department: Pediatrics-Endocrinology
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