CU Prof Shares Obesity Research with Colleagues in England
Athens, W.Va. – Dr. Craig Huddy associate professor of health education presented his research on obesity at St. Anne’s College in Oxford, England, on March 11. The name of the conference, “Obesity: The Affluent Society,” was held to bring attention to the problems of obesity worldwide, with a focus on the effects of obesity and the best treatments and strategies for prevention. More than 40 attended from around the world, each with his or her area of expertise. For example, an exercise physiologist focused on the necessity of physical activity as a way to avoid obesity, while nutritionists focused on healthy food choices.
Huddy’s paper is concerned with the “obesity epidemic” and further focuses on West Virginia, which ranks second in the nation for obesity (Alabama ranks first and Mississippi, third).
According to Huddy, there are two main ways to treat obesity. One way is the medical model which essentially is prescribing exercise and dietary restrictions for overweight people.
“In this model, you basically wait for people to get fat and then tell them what they can do about it,” Huddy said.
The second way is the public health model, which focuses on prevention. This involves a drastic change in the current environment.
“People would not respond positively to this at all because this would call for taking out candy and pop machines and then putting a heavy tax on fast food,” he explained.
To Huddy, the theme of a healthier lifestyle has been a recurrent one in his own life. “I got into this field because of my commitment to a healthy lifestyle,” he said. “That is why, when I decided to get my doctorate, I chose this field. My research is also my lifestyle.”
According to Huddy, over 300,000 people die from obesity-related complications each year. This is why he said he believes that awareness—and providing solutions—can be helpful to people everywhere.
“Awareness of choices promotes a healthier society,” he said. “People would be living longer, happier lives and people wouldn’t have to worry about their loved one dying from obesity if awareness of the problem—and solutions—are available.”
PHOTO: A slide from Dr. Huddy’s presentation shares the reality of statistics for Americans who are overweight, obese, or healthy; less than one-third of Americans are at a weight considered healthy. (slide #23)
PHOTO: A slide from Prof. Huddy’s presentation includes data pointing toward serious healthcare issues for citizens of West Virginia, including the fact that the state spends an estimated $325 per person (BRFSS, CDC, 2002) on medical costs related to obesity. (slide #30)
PHOTO: Most obesity is explained by non-genetic factors (lifestyle, environment, culture). (slide #35)
PHOTO: The public health model focuses on prevention. This involves a drastic change in the current environment. (slide #40)
Andrea Meador a freshman majoring in English and journalism wrote this news release. Her hometown is Ghent.