Dr. Gortmaker’s research is focused on the health of children and adolescents, particularly households living in poverty and minority populations. The major goal of his research has been to identify modifiable risks for morbidity and mortality in the young, and to both initiate and evaluate interventions to improve these outcomes. He focuses on a broad variety of risks, ranging from sociological concepts such as income poverty, social stress and social networks, to behaviors such as smoking, inactivity (exemplified by television viewing) and diet. Interventions have included work at both the level of national and state policy, programs at the regional, county, school, hospital, clinic and individual level. Research includes collaborative work with research groups at Harvard, in the Boston area, nationally, and internationally.
In recent years, Dr. Gortmaker has focused his research on the cost-effectiveness of interventions promoting physical activity and nutrition, aimed at preventing childhood obesity, and is the Principal Investigator of the CHOICES (Childhood Obesity Intervention Cost-Effectiveness Study) Project.