Addressing the obesity epidemic at Texas Conference on Health Disparities


1130

Follow the conversation on Twitter:
#UNTHSCSolveObesity

Nearly 70 percent of adults in the United States are overweight or obese.

The statistics are even more alarming among some racial and ethnic groups. Nearly 80 percent of Hispanics and 77 percent of blacks have a body mass index above 25 and are considered overweight or obese.

Despite evidence that interventions are having an impact on the obesity epidemic, the populations with the greatest needs are not being reached, said Jamboor Vishwanatha, PhD, Director of the Texas Center for Health Disparities.

At the Tenth Annual Texas Conference on Health Disparities, June 11-12, speakers from across the country will gather at UNT Health Science Center to explore ways to address the obesity epidemic and take steps to combat health disparities.

One approach that will be presented at the conference uses motivational counseling to help children lose weight and live healthier lives.  Motivational counseling is an evidence-based approach often used when working with those who have addictions, said keynote speaker Ken Resnicow, Irwin M. Rosenstock Collegiate Professor at the University of Michigan School of Public Health.

“The intervention worked for everyone, but it worked even better for Latinos,” Dr. Resnicow said.  “We feel this model is realistic, largely affordable and could be widely disseminated.”

The conference also will feature a project that encourages African-American cancer survivors to be more active. Data from the project will be presented by Michelle Martin, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

“Although research suggests that exercise can reduce the risk of re-occurrence among cancer survivors, African-American survivors are among the least active,” Dr. Martin said.

To promote physical activity, cancer survivors were provided a Nintendo Wii Fit and were paired with a community health advisor dedicated to improving outcomes for community members.

The two lectures are among roughly a dozen that will be presented by national leaders in the field. The conference is funded in part by a grant to Heather Kitzman-Ulrich, PhD, Assistant Professor, from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities.

Reunion Fc
Empathy in action

By Alli Haltom   Evonne Kaplan-Liss was struggling with the effects of ulcerative colitis, recovering from surgery and feeling hopeless. “I sank into a deep depression,” said Kaplan-Liss, now a physician and Assistant Dean of Narrative Reflection and Patient Communication for the T...Read more

Apr 23, 2018

Namus Fc
A last chance for families with missing loved ones

By Jeff Carlton   The databases of the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) contain files on more than 1,000 active missing person cases in Texas and about 14,000 nationwide – each one a tragedy for the families involved. “I’m not sure we can help a family fin...Read more

Apr 18, 2018

Rita Fc
Professor honored for outstanding contributions to field of biomedical engineering

By Alex Branch   Rita Patterson, PhD, a UNT Health Science Center Professor, has been inducted into the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering College of Fellows, one of the highest professional distinctions for medical and biological engineers. Dr. Patterson was rec...Read more

Apr 16, 2018

Vint Fc
‘All I needed was a chance’

By Raul Vintimilla, Department of Pharmacology and Neuroscience   I had earned my medical degree and finished a three-year hospital residency in Cuenca, Ecuador when I decided to move my family to the United States. I had discovered during my training that clinical care was not my pass...Read more

Apr 11, 2018