about | Maps & Directions | contact | admissions | faculty | alumni & development | library | Tech Support Center | dean's office | Policies & Procedures

FAculty directory

Back to alphabetical index

Robert C. Whitaker, MD, MPH


Robert C. Whitaker, MD, MPH


Professor, Department of Public Health

Professor, Department of Pediatrics


Telephone:  215-707-8676

Fax: 215-707-6475

Email: rwhitaker@temple.edu


Department of Public Health

Department of Pediatrics


Educational Background:


BA, Chemistry, Williams College, Williamstown, MA, 1983


MD, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, 1987


Residency, Pediatrics, University of Washington Affiliated Hospitals, Seattle, WA, 1987-1990


Fellow, Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, 1990-1992


MPH, University of Washington School of Public Health and Community Medicine, Seattle, WA, 1992


Return to top



research Interests:


Dr. Whitaker's research interests are in the childhood antecedents of adult chronic disease. He has conducted much of his research on childhood obesity. This has included studies on the epidemiology of childhood obesity, parent-child feeding interaction, and obesity prevention strategies in low-income preschool children. His work has also focused on the determinants of social and emotional wellbeing in children.


Return to top





  • American Board of Pediatrics

Return to top





  • Phi Beta Kappa, Williams College, 1982
  • Magna Cum Laude, Williams College, 1983
  • Merck Prize for Academic Excellence, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (awarded to the top three students in the graduating class), 1987
  • Alpha Omega Alpha, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 1987
  • Outstanding Presentation by Student, Resident, or Fellow, Ambulatory Pediatric Association, District IX and X Annual Meeting, 1992
  • Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Generalist Physician Faculty Scholars Award, 1994
  • Outstanding Teacher Award from the Pediatric Housestaff, University of Washington Affiliated Hospitals, 1995
  • Bronze Telly Award for video entitled “Beyond Nutrition Counseling: Reframing the Battle Against Obesity”, 2000
  • Friend of WIC Award, National WIC Association, 2003
  • Most influential article published in 2008 by a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grantee [School Food Environments and Policies in U.S. Public Schools, Pediatrics], 2009
  • Excellence in Teaching Award, College of Health Professions and Social Work, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, 2011

Return to top



professional affiliations:


  • American Academy of Pediatrics (Fellow, 7/1/94), 1987-present
  • Ambulatory Pediatric Association, 1990-2003
  • Washington State Medical Association, 1992-1996
  • Society of Behavioral Medicine, 1993-1994
  • The Obesity Society, 1994
  • Member, Society for Pediatric Research, 2000-2002

Return to top




Recent Medically Related Publications, Obtained from PubMed (Click on PubMed ID to view abstract)

26597415. Perez A, Alos VA, Scanlan A, Maia CM, Davey A, Whitaker RC, Foster GD, Ackermann RT, O'Brien MJ, The rationale, design, and baseline characteristics of PREVENT-DM: A community-based comparative effectiveness trial of lifestyle intervention and metformin among Latinas with prediabetes. Contemp Clin Trials 45:Pt B(320-327)2015 Oct 24

26580144. Whitaker RC, Relationships Heal. Perm J 20:1()2015 Nov 9

26024851. O'Brien MJ, Whitaker RC, Yu D, Ackermann RT, The comparative efficacy of lifestyle intervention and metformin by educational attainment in the Diabetes Prevention Program. Prev Med 77:(125-30)2015 Aug

26023095. O'Brien MJ, Perez A, Alos VA, Whitaker RC, Ciolino JD, Mohr DC, Ackermann RT, The feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary effectiveness of a Promotora-Led Diabetes Prevention Program (PL-DPP) in Latinas: a pilot study. Diabetes Educ 41:4(485-94)2015 Aug

25299982. O'Brien MJ, Alos VA, Davey A, Bueno A, Whitaker RC, Acculturation and the prevalence of diabetes in US Latino Adults, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2007-2010. Prev Chronic Dis 11:(E176)2014 Oct 9

25278787. O'Brien MJ, Garland JM, Murphy KM, Shuman SJ, Whitaker RC, Larson SC, Training medical students in the social determinants of health: the Health Scholars Program at Puentes de Salud. Adv Med Educ Pract 5:(307-14)2014

25240637. Fisher JO, Wright G, Herman AN, Malhotra K, Serrano EL, Foster GD, Whitaker RC, "Snacks are not food". Low-income, urban mothers' perceptions of feeding snacks to their preschool-aged children. Appetite 84:(61-7)2015 Jan

25084563. Whitaker RC, Dearth-Wesley T, Gooze RA, Becker BD, Gallagher KC, McEwen BS, Adverse childhood experiences, dispositional mindfulness, and adult health. Prev Med 67:(147-53)2014 Oct

24891924. Fletcher EN, Whitaker RC, Marino AJ, Anderson SE, Screen Time at Home and School among Low-Income Children Attending Head Start. Child Indic Res 7:2(421-436)2014 Jun

24872386. O'Brien MJ, Shuman SJ, Barrios DM, Alos VA, Whitaker RC, A qualitative study of acculturation and diabetes risk among urban immigrant Latinas: implications for diabetes prevention efforts. Diabetes Educ 40:5(616-25)2014 Sep-Oct

24620443. Wanat KA, Kovarik CL, Shuman S, Whitaker RC, Foster GD, O'Brien MJ, The association between obesity and health-related quality of life among urban Latinos. Ethn Dis 24:1(14-8)2014 Winter

24602099. Gehris JS, Gooze RA, Whitaker RC, Teachers' perceptions about children's movement and learning in early childhood education programmes. Child Care Health Dev 41:1(122-31)2015 Jan

24564412. Anderson SE, Lemeshow S, Whitaker RC, Maternal-infant relationship quality and risk of obesity at age 5.5 years in a national US cohort. BMC Pediatr 14:(54)2014 Feb 24

24176085. Whitaker RC, Becker BD, Herman AN, Gooze RA, The physical and mental health of Head Start staff: the Pennsylvania Head Start staff wellness survey, 2012. Prev Chronic Dis 10:(E181)2013 Oct 31

24144074. Malhotra K, Herman AN, Wright G, Bruton Y, Fisher JO, Whitaker RC, Perceived benefits and challenges for low-income mothers of having family meals with preschool-aged children: childhood memories matter. J Acad Nutr Diet 113:11(1484-93)2013 Nov

23377729. Dias JJ, Whitaker RC, Black mothers' perceptions about urban neighborhood safety and outdoor play for their preadolescent daughters. J Health Care Poor Underserved 24:1(206-19)2013 Feb

23157723. Herman AN, Malhotra K, Wright G, Fisher JO, Whitaker RC, A qualitative study of the aspirations and challenges of low-income mothers in feeding their preschool-aged children. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act 9:(132)2012 Nov 16

23000895. Marino AJ, Fletcher EN, Whitaker RC, Anderson SE, Amount and environmental predictors of outdoor playtime at home and school: a cross-sectional analysis of a national sample of preschool-aged children attending Head Start. Health Place 18:6(1224-30)2012 Nov

22961569. O'Brien MJ, Davey A, Alos VA, Whitaker RC, Diabetes-related behaviors in Latinas and non-Latinas in California. Diabetes Care 36:2(355-61)2013 Feb

22840884. Gooze RA, Hughes CC, Finkelstein DM, Whitaker RC, Obesity and food insecurity at the same table: how head start programs respond. Prev Chronic Dis 9:(E132)2012

22566552. Whitaker RC, Wright JA, Why feed breast milk from a bottle? Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 166:5(483-4)2012 May

22201144. Anderson SE, Gooze RA, Lemeshow S, Whitaker RC, Quality of early maternal-child relationship and risk of adolescent obesity. Pediatrics 129:1(132-40)2012 Jan

22160656. Herring SJ, Henry TQ, Klotz AA, Foster GD, Whitaker RC, Perceptions of low-income African-American mothers about excessive gestational weight gain. Matern Child Health J 16:9(1837-43)2012 Dec

22065178. Whitaker RC, The childhood obesity epidemic: lessons for preventing socially determined health conditions. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 165:11(973-5)2011 Nov

22010917. Ludwig J, Sanbonmatsu L, Gennetian L, Adam E, Duncan GJ, Katz LF, Kessler RC, Kling JR, Lindau ST, Whitaker RC, McDade TW, Neighborhoods, obesity, and diabetes--a randomized social experiment. N Engl J Med 365:16(1509-19)2011 Oct 20

21935750. O'Brien MJ, Whitaker RC, The role of community-based participatory research to inform local health policy: a case study. J Gen Intern Med 26:12(1498-501)2011 Dec

21543085. Gooze RA, Anderson SE, Whitaker RC, Prolonged bottle use and obesity at 5.5 years of age in US children. J Pediatr 159:3(431-6)2011 Sep

21383273. Anderson SE, Whitaker RC, Attachment security and obesity in US preschool-aged children. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 165:3(235-42)2011 Mar

21135348. Whitaker RC, The infancy of obesity prevention. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 164:12(1167-9)2010 Dec

20394693. Gooze RA, Hughes CC, Finkelstein DM, Whitaker RC, Reaching staff, parents, and community partners to prevent childhood obesity in Head Start, 2008. Prev Chronic Dis 7:3(A54)2010 May

20194987. Hughes CC, Gooze RA, Finkelstein DM, Whitaker RC, Barriers to obesity prevention in Head Start. Health Aff (Millwood) 29:3(454-62)2010 Mar-Apr

20147505. Hughes CC, Sherman SN, Whitaker RC, How low-income mothers with overweight preschool children make sense of obesity. Qual Health Res 20:4(465-78)2010 Apr

20142280. Anderson SE, Whitaker RC, Household routines and obesity in US preschool-aged children. Pediatrics 125:3(420-8)2010 Mar

19996052. Whitaker RC, Gooze RA, Hughes CC, Finkelstein DM, A national survey of obesity prevention practices in Head Start. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 163:12(1144-50)2009 Dec

19349570. Whitaker RC, Gooze RA, Self-regulation and obesity prevention: a valuable intersection between developmental psychology and pediatrics. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 163:4(386-7)2009 Apr

19349563. Anderson SE, Whitaker RC, Prevalence of obesity among US preschool children in different racial and ethnic groups. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 163:4(344-8)2009 Apr

18595970. Finkelstein DM, Hill EL, Whitaker RC, School food environments and policies in US public schools. Pediatrics 122:1(e251-9)2008 Jul

18023869. Whitaker RC, Phillips SM, Orzol SM, Burdette HL, The association between maltreatment and obesity among preschool children. Child Abuse Negl 31:11-12(1187-99)2007 Nov-Dec

17985499. Burdette HL, Whitaker RC, Differences by race and ethnicity in the relationship between breastfeeding and obesity in preschool children. Ethn Dis 17:3(467-70)2007 Summer

17709454. Whitaker RC, Sarin A, Change in food security status and change in weight are not associated in urban women with preschool children. J Nutr 137:9(2134-9)2007 Sep

17698183. Whitaker RC, Orzol SM, Kahn RS, The co-occurrence of smoking and a major depressive episode among mothers 15 months after delivery. Prev Med 45:6(476-80)2007 Dec

17218323. Whitaker RC, Commentary: Should I blame mom or dad? Identifying the relative contribution of each parent's body size to that of their offspring. Int J Epidemiol 36:1(108-9)2007 Feb

17168622. Strachan JP, Whitaker RC, Miller CH, Bhatti BS, Synthesis of bicyclic tertiary alpha-amino acids. J Org Chem 71:26(9909-11)2006 Dec 22

17135620. Powers SW, Chamberlin LA, van Schaick KB, Sherman SN, Whitaker RC, Maternal feeding strategies, child eating behaviors, and child BMI in low-income African-American preschoolers. Obesity (Silver Spring) 14:11(2026-33)2006 Nov

16950971. Whitaker RC, Phillips SM, Orzol SM, Food insecurity and the risks of depression and anxiety in mothers and behavior problems in their preschool-aged children. Pediatrics 118:3(e859-68)2006 Sep

16754818. Whitaker RC, Orzol SM, Obesity among US urban preschool children: relationships to race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 160:6(578-84)2006 Jun

16651512. Whitaker RC, Orzol SM, Kahn RS, Maternal mental health, substance use, and domestic violence in the year after delivery and subsequent behavior problems in children at age 3 years. Arch Gen Psychiatry 63:5(551-60)2006 May

16651495. Burdette HL, Whitaker RC, Hall WC, Daniels SR, Maternal infant-feeding style and children's adiposity at 5 years of age. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 160:5(513-20)2006 May

16648624. Burdette HL, Wadden TA, Whitaker RC, Neighborhood safety, collective efficacy, and obesity in women with young children. Obesity (Silver Spring) 14:3(518-25)2006 Mar

16522900. Burdette HL, Whitaker RC, Hall WC, Daniels SR, Breastfeeding, introduction of complementary foods, and adiposity at 5 y of age. Am J Clin Nutr 83:3(550-8)2006 Mar

Return to top