Combating obesity - lecture to give insight into tackling the disease

Combating obesity - lecture to give insight into tackling the disease

Medical developments in treatments to tackle obesity will be the subject of a public lecture in Aberdeen on Wednesday (February 12).

The education and prevention methods required to combat the disease will also be discussed by Chair in Human Nutrition at the University of Aberdeen’s Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health, Professor Lora Heisler.

The event, which begins at 6pm at the institution’s Suttie Centre lecture theatre, takes place as part of Inspirational Inaugurals – a series of lectures from key new academic appointments to the University’s College of Life Sciences and Medicine.

All talks are free to attend and open to all. 

Professor Heisler said: “Over half of people in the UK are overweight and 1 in 4 are clinically obese.  This is an enormous percentage of the population and of critical importance given the links established between obesity and serious medical illnesses including cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

“In my talk I will examine education, prevention and treatment that is required to enable us to tackle obesity head on.

“With regards to education, we need to get the word out that food is fuel for our bodies like petrol is for a car - the more you run around, the more fuel you need. But, because most of us have jobs where we sit for large portions of the day, we don’t actually require that much fuel or food.  So, it is easy to eat more than your body requires and the excess food is stored as fat.

“To prevent obesity, we need to reduce snacking, we need to reduce portion sizes, and we need to encourage more physical activity. Educating children and parents about portion size and integrating physical activity into the daily routine is a key component in combating obesity. 

“I’ll also discuss our ongoing research into treatment for people who are already obese. While it is very easy to gain weight, it is much more difficult to lose weight and keep it off.

“Much of our focus is on understanding the relationship between appetite and the brain, which is the master coordinator of hunger.  Our studies are looking at how we can suppress appetite by adjusting pathways in the brain, to aid people in their bid to lose weight.

“These scientific observations have translated into new medications that recently became available in the States, such as Belviq and Qsymia. 

“Through our research, we aim to help those who suffer from obesity and associated diseases to live longer, healthier, and more fulfilling lives.”

Inspirational Inaugurals are the latest in a range of University of Aberdeen talks aimed at engaging the public with research. For more information see: 

Kelly Potts

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