September 25, 2002
ADVISORY: U-M Experts available to discuss obesity causes, effects, trends and prevention
ANN ARBOR -- In the months since Surgeon General David Satcher's call to action to combat obesity has focused attention on various questions related to weight gain -- everything from the responsibility of fast-food restaurants to the role obesity plays in a myriad of common diseases.
U-M School of Public Health will host a full-day symposium on obesity Sept. 30 featuring experts from U-M and beyond. Speakers are available for interviews before and after the symposium (http://www.sph.umich.edu/symposium/2002/ offers a full list of topics to be discussed and profiles of speakers). In addition, U-M offers many other experts on various aspects of obesity. Among those available for interviews are:
Harold Pollack, whose research on the proportion of overweight children was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in December 2001, and whose current work focuses on the social effects of obesity on children. Pollack is associate professor of health management and policy at U-M School of Public Health. http://www.sph.umich.edu/faculty/haroldp.html
Julie Berson Grand, a doctoral student in health management and policy who plans to present an analysis titled "Is Ronald McDonald the next Joe Camel?" at the American Public Health Association 2002 annual meeting in November. Grand earned her master’s of public health degree in health behavior and health education at U-M School of Public Health.
Alan R. Saltiel, whose work on the hormone insulin and its role in regulating cellular sugar levels has expanded into an investigation of how cells send and receive signals. Recently he’s examined how fat cells themselves send signals to the body that lead to insulin resistance, a precursor to diabetes. Saltiel has just been named director of U-M's multidisciplinary Life Sciences Institute. http://www.umich.edu/~newsinfo/Releases/2002/Sep02/r091802c.html Barry Bogin, an anthropologist who found Maya children in the U.S. are taller and longer-legged than Mayan children in Guatemala, as a result of greater access to food and health care. But they are also much heavier, probably because they are more sedentary. Bogin, an anthropology professor at U-M Dearborn, worked with U-M Dearborn colleagues Patricia Smith and Maria Ines Varela Silva on the study and discussed his study in a symposium titled Biocultural Insights on the Emerging Worldwide Epidemic of Obesity at the 2002 meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. http://www.umd.umich.edu/casl/behsci/anthro/BoginCV/
David Schteingart, who has been researching obesity for four decades, including the role of stress in obesity, the use of pharmacological agents in the treatment of obesity, and the role of physical training on weight reduction. Schteingart leads a program for the rehabilitation of severely obese patients, and is a professor of internal medicine at the U-M Health System. http://www.med.umich.edu/intmed/endocrinology/Schteingart.html
Catherine M. Fitzgerald, a registered dietician who has been instrumental in developing and implementing the M-FIT Healthy Dining Program for the M-FIT Health Promotion Division. More than 20 Ann Arbor area restaurants, as well as several U-M food service establishments, participate in the program, which includes indicating on their menus which choices meet M-FIT guidelines for healthy eating. Fitzgerald has worked with an Ann Arbor area elementary school to develop healthy eating tips in the cafeteria and coordinating displays for each month, and to update teachers' nutritional resources. http://www.med.umich.edu/mfit/nutrition/about.htm
Frank Stafford, director of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, who found that it’s about as easy to lose weight as it is to get rich. A study of more than 10,000 adults over a 13-year period by the U-M Institute for Social Research found that there is substantial weight mobility over the adult lifetime, and comparing changes in body mass index to household wealth mobility showed they were on the same order of magnitude. Stafford worked with U-M colleagues Yong-Seong Kim and Katherine McGonagle on the research. http://www.umich.edu/~newsinfo/Releases/2001/Nov01/r111401a.html
Sheila Gahagan, a behavioral-developmental pediatrician who is interested in factors in very early childhood that may increase the risk for obesity. She is studying the influence of birthweight, breast feeding, early temperament and maternal depression, as well as increased risk for some ethnic groups, especially Native Americans. Gahagan is an assistant research scientist at the Center for Growth and Development, and is an associate professor of pediatrics and communicable diseases. http://www.umich.edu/~chgdwww/faculty/gahagan.html
Alan Tsai, who is examining the impact of diet on blood lipids, with an emphasis on risks for the development of coronary heart disease. He also has helped research the role of dietary intake and physical activity in weight management, and is active in looking at the impact of lifestyle on the nutritional status of the population of Taiwan. Tsai is an associate professor of environmental health sciences. http://www.sph.umich.edu/faculty/atsai.html
Anita Sandretto, director of the Human Nutrition Program at the U-M School of Public Health and organizer of the obesity symposium, who says people shouldn't complicate the issue of being overweight -- we have to eat fewer calories and get more exercise than we do. http://www.sph.umich.edu/faculty/asandret.html
Surgeon General’s obesity information: http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/topics/obesity/
Producers: U-M has professional studios and uplink capabilities.
Contact: Colleen Newvine