Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Friday Sem Activity - Week of 2/24

Lecture: “The Obesity Epidemic: Why Have We Failed”
Dr. Lewis H. Kuller, University of Pittsburg
NIH Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series
Wednesday, February 15th 2012
Podcast accessed Monday February 21st

Link: http://videocast.nih.gov/launch.asp?17113

Dr. Kuller began his lecture by using obesity as an example of a common source epidemic. He made four main points to that end:
1. Disease is only successfully controlled by prevention
2. Understanding the determinants of disease are critical (host, agent, environment)
3. Epidemiology of chronic disease is due to a change in individual behaviors, a change in social and physical environment, and development of an epidemic in a susceptible population
4. Over time humans are destined to become obese given the available supply of food and a decrease in level of energy expenditure
He argued that successful interventions required an understanding of our personal and societal relationship with caloric intake and energy expenditures.

Other interesting points from the lecture included:
· Food has become the #1 social behavior in the United States
· It is most likely that behavioral (non-surgery) weight loss interventions must be continued for the lifetime of the individual
· In the United States we consume about 465 calories/day from fluids, mostly from sweetened beverages
· Gut bacteria may play a role in obesity
· Effective physical activity interventions for children and teenagers should be based on skill and interests – that is, tailored to the individual


  1. Sarah - I'm curious: When was food NOT the #1 social behavior? What was?



    1. Ben,

      The argument that Dr. Kuller made in his lecture was that food has become a major replacement for adverse activities, such as cigarette smoking and alcohol, which he stated have decreased in the past 20 or 30 years. He then went on to state that “food has become our number one social behavior.”

      At another point in the lecture he talked about food being the “number one social outlet” and says that “Let’s meet for lunch or come to a dinner party” is a new phenomenon of the past 20 or 30 years.

      I think the point he was trying to make was less that food is shooting up the charts as a social behavior and more that cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption are decreasing as social behaviors, leaving food at the top.


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