Where innovative translational research improves health outcomes for youth with neurodevelopmental and mental health diagnoses.
Check out our new podcast, Healthy Enough, which harnesses research AND realism to help parents create healthier exercise, nutrition and sleep habits in their children who may be living with mental health challenges.
ADHD and Obesity Risk in Youth
Bowling, A. B., Tiemeier, H. W., Jaddoe, V. W. V., Barker, E. D., & Jansen, P. W. (2018). ADHD symptoms and body composition changes in childhood: A longitudinal study evaluating directionality of associations. Pediatric obesity, 13(9), 567-575.
Exercise and Behavioral Function
Bowling, A., Slavet, J., Miller, D. P., Haneuse, S., Beardslee, W., & Davison, K. (2017). Cybercycling effects on classroom behavior in children with behavioral health disorders: an RCT. Pediatrics, 139(2), e20161985.
Shaping Healthy Habits
Bowling, A., Blaine, R. E., Kaur, R., & Davison, K. K. (2019). Shaping healthy habits in children with neurodevelopmental and mental health disorders: parent perceptions of barriers, facilitators and promising strategies. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 16(1), 52.
Lab Director: Dr. April Bowling
Our team is committed to finding practical approaches to improve chronic disease disparities among youth with neurodevelopmental and mental health diagnoses such as autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, generalized anxiety disorder, and depression. Our research helps to establish the relative effectiveness of intervention components in real-world settings, so that parents and clinicians can best allocate scarce resources. As a result, community-based, school, and home programming can become more accessible, scalable and engaging. I am proud to have built a diverse research network that includes individuals with lived experience, clinicians, exercise scientists, registered dieticians, developmental psychologists, educators, and graduate students.
I completed my doctoral degree at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, focusing my dissertation on the effects of exercise and nutrition on mental and physical health among youth with neurodevelopmental and affective disorders. As an Assistant Professor of Health Sciences at Merrimack College, I teach undergraduate and graduate courses in public health, epidemiology and nutrition, and offer students opportunities to both become involved in research and volunteer to support youth and their families in neighboring communities.
Dr. Bowling’s CV
Clinical Psychologist: Dr. James Slavet
Over the past twenty years, my training and career has been focused on the real world application of evidence-based treatment to children with social and emotional challenges. During my pre-doctoral internship (University of Washington School of Medicine) and post-doctoral fellowship (Brown University School of Medicine), I had the honor of learning about clinical research by participating both as a researcher and clinician. At Judge Baker Children’s Center (2005-2015), I focused on the delivery of evidence based treatment in school and camp programs, training doctoral students, and directing programs. My current collaboration with THRIVE allows me to continue with my passions for evidence-based treatment, and participating in clinical research collaborations. Since 2015, I have helped lead a number of projects aimed at improving the physical health of children with social and emotional challenges.
Get in Touch with THRIVE Lab
“Parenting healthy habits in children with neurodevelopmental and mental health diagnoses is difficult, and often undermined by competing demands on parenting resources. To reduce chronic disease disparities and promote health in this population, future research must better adapt existing health promotion materials and programs to more practically support parents in multiple settings including home, schools and community organizations.”Bowling, A., Blaine, R. E., Kaur, R., & Davison, K. K. (2019). Shaping healthy habits in children with neurodevelopmental and mental health disorders: parent perceptions of barriers, facilitators and promising strategies. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 16(1), 52.