Annual Michael & Susan Dell Lectureship in Child Health features national expert in child obesity prevention
HOUSTON - The Michael & Susan Dell Center for Advancement of Healthy Living at The University of Texas School of Public Health Austin Regional Campus will host the third annual Michael & Susan Dell Lectureship in Child Health at 1:30 p.m. Thursday, April 16, at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center Amphitheater in Austin.
Obesity expert Shiriki Kumanyika, Ph.D., M.P.H., professor of biostatistics and epidemiology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, is this year’s guest lecturer and will present “Childhood Obesity: Which Children are at Highest Risk and Why?” The event is free and open to the public.
Kumanyika’s academic and clinical areas of interest include epidemiology, nutrition, minority health and women’s health issues. Her current studies involve developing and evaluating interventions to prevent or treat obesity, with particular focus on African-American and Latino populations. Kumanyika is involved in numerous national and international public health-related committees and is a consultant to the World Health Organization.
This year’s lectureship will have a moderated panel discussion including Deanna M. Hoelscher, Ph.D., R.D., L.D., professor and director of the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Advancement of Healthy Living; Steven H. Kelder, Ph.D., M.P.H, professor and co-director; and Aliya Esmail Hussaini, M.D., U.S. health portfolio director at the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation.
Childhood obesity is on the rise, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Health and Nutrition Examination surveys. Surveys taken from 1976–1980 and 2003–2006 found the prevalence of obesity increased. For children ages 2–5, prevalence increased from 5 percent to 12.4 percent. For those ages 6–11, prevalence increased from 6.5 percent to 17 percent and for those ages 12–19 years, prevalence increased from 5 percent to 17.6 percent
The Michael & Susan Dell Center for Advancement of Healthy Living is committed to bringing national leaders on child health and obesity prevention to Texas. Past lectureship speakers include childhood obesity experts William Dietz, M.D., Ph.D., and Mary Story, Ph.D., R.D.
The Michael & Susan Dell Center for Advancement of Healthy Living’s core program is the Coordinated Approach To Child Health program (CATCH). CATCH is a Texas Education Agency-approved program designed to promote physical activity, healthy food choices and prevent tobacco use in elementary school children. The CATCH program, which began as a successful research study, is currently being implemented in 97 Travis County elementary schools and will launch a middle school CATCH program in Central Texas this fall.
Results of a recent study of CATCH elementary students in El Paso showed that the program successfully reversed the increase of obesity among a controlled group of school children. After three years of the study, there were 11 percent fewer girls and 9 percent fewer boys classified as overweight and obese. To date, CATCH has been adopted by more than 7,000 schools in the United States and more than 2,500 elementary schools in Texas, potentially impacting more than 800,000 children in Texas.
About The Michael & Susan Dell Center for Advancement of Healthy Living
The Michael & Susan Dell Center for Advancement of Healthy Living was founded in 2006 with a grant from the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation to The University of Texas School of Public Health. The Center was established to conduct research to better understand and influence behaviors and environmental conditions that affect healthy living, with a vision of “healthy children in a healthy world.” The Center is housed in the University of Texas School of Public Health Austin Regional Campus.
The University of Texas School of Public Health Austin Regional Campus was established in 2007 to conduct public health research and to offer graduate-level training in public health to Austin and the Central Texas region. The Austin Regional Campus makes core (Certificate) and advanced training (M.P.H., doctoral) in public health available to the state health department workers, other health professionals, and recent graduates of UT Austin, and facilitates research and development to advance and evaluate public health programs and services, particularly in the area of child and adolescent health promotion. The Austin Regional Campus currently has 11 faculty members, two faculty associates and staff to support the teaching program. The M.P.H. program began in fall 2008, and the Ph.D. in Epidemiology and Dr.PH in Health Promotion programs will begin in fall 2009, along with the potential for a dual degree with the UT Austin School of Social Work, the MSSW-M.P.H. In total, there are more than 90 students enrolled at the campus during the 2008-2009 school year. The Michael & Susan Dell Center for Advancement of Healthy Living is housed at the University of Texas School of Public Health Austin Regional Campus.
About the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation
The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation is dedicated to improving the lives of children living in urban poverty around the world. With offices in Austin and New Delhi, India, the Dell family foundation funds programs that foster high-quality public education and childhood health, and improve the economic stability of families living in poverty. The foundation has committed more than $530 million to global children’s issues and community initiatives to date.
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