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Dr Ellen van Jaarsveld
Senior Research Fellow

Longitudinal data analyses, cohort studies, heritability analyses, twin research, childhood obesity, early growth.

Research interests

Current research involving the Gemini study includes:
  • understanding the genetic and environmental influences on obesity risk
  • identify potentially modifiable determinants of excessive weight gain in early childhood
  • create a research resource to contribute to a longer-term programme of integrated genetic environmental research in cancer preventive health behaviours.
Other research includes TEDS -Twins Early Development Study.

Current research
Gemini - Health and Development in Twins. Gemini studies 2400 UK families with twins. A twin sample enables us to quantify the heritability of variation in weight and appetite, and the contribution of shared environmental factors to determine whether the same genetic and environmental factors influence both aspects of the phenotype. Studying children from birth allows us to assess very early influences on appetite and weight, which are increasingly implicated in childhood obesity. Following up the children as they mature will allow us to investigate the effects of early characteristics across the life-course.


2005- Senior Research Fellow Health Behaviour Research Centre, UCL Epidemiology & Public Health
1999- 2005 Post Doc Researcher, Northern Centre for Healthcare Research, Groningen, the Netherlands
1998 PhD in Epidemiology, University of Utrecht, The Netherlands
1993 MSc in Health Sciences / Epidemiology, University of Nijmegen, The Netherlands

  1. CHM van Jaarsveld, L Johnson, C Llewellyn, J Wardle. Gemini: a UK twin birth cohort with a focus on early childhood weight trajectories, appetite and the family food and activity environment. Twin Research and Human Genetics 2010;13(1):72-78. Doi:10.1375/twin.13.1.72.
  2. LPMM Wijlaars, L Johnson, CHM van Jaarsveld, J Wardle. Socioeconomic status and weight gain in early infancy. In press for IJO. Epub ahead of printing: DOI:10.1038/ijo.2011.88.
  3. CH Llewellyn, CHM van Jaarsveld, L Johnson, S Carnell, J Wardle. Development and factor structure of the Baby Eating Behaviour Questionnaire. Appetite 2011;57:388-396.
  4. L Johnson, CH Llewellyn, CHM van Jaarsveld, TJ Cole, J Wardle. Genetic and environmental influences on infant growth: prospective analysis of the Gemini birth cohort. PLoS One 2011;6(5):e19918.
  5. L Johnson, CHM van Jaarsveld, J Wardle. Individual and family environmental correlates differ for consumption of core and non-core food in children. Br J Nutr 2011;105(6):950-9.
  6. A Fisher, CHM van Jaarsveld, CH Llewellyn, J Wardle. Environmental influences on children's physical activity: quantitative estimates using a twin design. PLoS One 2010;5(4): e10110. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0010110.
  7. CH Llewellyn, CHM van Jaarsveld, L Johnson, S Carnell, J Wardle. Nature and nurture in infant appetite: analysis of the Gemini twin birth cohort. AJCN 2010;91:1172-1179. DOI:10.3945/alcn.2009.28868.
  8. CHM van Jaarsveld, JA Fidler, A Steptoe, D Boniface, J Wardle. Perceived stress and weight gain in adolescence: a longitudinal analysis. Obesity 2009;17(12):2155-2161. Doi10.1038/oby.2009.183.
  9. A Steptoe, CHM van Jaarsveld, C Semmler, R Plomin, J Wardle. Heritability of daytime cortisol levels and cortisol reactivity in children. Psychoneuroendocrinology 2009;34:273-280. Doi:10.1016/j.psyneuen.2008.09.006.
  10. CH Llewellyn, CHM van Jaarsveld, D Boniface, S Carnell, J Wardle. Eating rate is a heritable phenotype related to weight in children. Am J Clin Nutr 2008;88(6):1560-1566.
  11. CHM van Jaarsveld, JA Fidler, AE Simon, J Wardle. Persistent impact of pubertal timing on trends in smoking, food choice, activity, and stress in adolescence. Psychosomatic Medicine 2007;69(8):798-806.

This page last modified 28 July, 2011 by Mark Livermore

Ellen van Jaarsveld

+44 (0)20 7679 5616
Internal: x45616
+44 (0)20 7679 8354
Email: c.jaarsveld@ucl.ac.uk

Postal address: Health Behaviour Research Centre, Department of Epidemiology & Public Health,
UCL, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT, UK

Office: Room 210,
1-19 Torrington Place,

University College London- Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT - Telephone: +44 (0)20 7679 1720 - © 2012 UCL

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