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Science Matters

The Science and Policy of Obesity

Who’s policing your plate?

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Click here to download Dr. James A. Levine's presentation. (23.4MB, PPT)

Click here to download Dr. Antronette K. Yancey's presentation. (9.2MB, PPT)

Click here to download Manal Aboelata's presentation. (1.5MB, PDF)

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and a long list of doctors and public health experts, there is an obesity ‘epidemic’ in the United States that is threatening the health of millions of Americans. How bad it is, what is causing this trend and what we do about it is much less clear. In 2006, New York City banned transfats in restaurants and prohibited new fast-food restaurants in poor neighborhoods. The measure was a reaction to perceived aggressive food marketing forces that support obesity. How far should we go to help children and adults make healthier food choices? Are we a society that controls what people eat? Depending on your perspective, viewpoints range from promoting individual choice and promoting educational campaigns to the need for a national science policy for nutrition.

In this program, a scientist presented the current science of obesity, describing the various ways obesity harms the body, and how it affects ethnicities and communities differently. In this light, panelists discussed the range of responses to obesity and the potential roles played by government, business and private citizens on the question of regulating what we eat and drink.

Featured panelists included: (click name for bio)

Conan Nolan—moderator

Reporter, NBC4

James A. Levine, MD, Ph.D.

Professor of Medicine, Physiology and Bioengineering, Richard Emslander Chair of Nutrition and Metabolism, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota

Antronette K. (Toni) Yancey, MD, MPH

Professor, Department of Health Services, School of Public Health, University of California, Los Angeles

Manal Aboelata, MPH

Program Director, Prevention Institute

J. Justin Wilson

Senior Research Analyst, Center for Consumer Freedom, Washington D.C.
Resources for Further Reading

Books

Obesity In the Media

Governmental Agencies, Reports, and Legislation

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