Sara Gable has been engaged in practical and scholarly activity focused on children, families, child care, and childhood obesity since the 1980’s. In 1986, she completed an undergraduate internship at Syntex Corporation’s employee child care program in Palo Alto, CA. During her Master’s degree studies, she was a lead teacher at Utah State University’s Child Development Lab and for her masters thesis conducted extensive in-home observations of mothers and their babies across the first year of life. At Penn State, her PhD research involved naturalistically observing first-born toddlers in two-parent homes to characterize the co-parenting relationship. Upon completing her PhD, she was a post-doc in the Department of Psychology at the University of Missouri, Columbia where she coordinated a federally-funded child abuse prevention demonstration project.
From 1996 to the present, she has been on the faculty at the University of Missouri, first in Human Development and Family Studies and now in the Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology. At MU, she has conducted research about the child care workforce, modifiable factors associated with the onset and persistence of childhood obesity, and the social, emotional, and academic consequences of obesity that persists across childhood and into adolescence. She is currently working to integrate her child care and child health research programs. Her first book, The States of Child Care: Building a Better System, was published in 2014 by Teachers College Press.
As a State Extension Specialist for University of Missouri Extension, she has created and taught educational programs for child care providers, served on numerous state child-care-related agency advisory boards, and assisted with the Missouri Child and Adult Care Food Program’s Eat Smart and MOve Smart initiatives.
"As the U.S. economy continues to falter and families face ongoing wage stagnation and widening income inequalities, there is an urgent need for a better, integrated approach to child care. This up-to-date account of the chronic issues plaguing child care reform offers viable solutions drawn from a model state child care system in North Carolina. Original data from interdisciplinary research illustrates the complex landscape of U.S. child care, as well as the ambiguous relationship society has with the sobering statistic that 64% of women with children under six are employed and in need of reliable, high-quality care of their young children."