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Annual Michael & Susan Dell lectureship in child health

HOUSTON (April 10, 2009) 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� and 2003� found the prevalence of obesity increased. For children ages 2𔃃, prevalence increased from 5 percent to 12.4 percent. For those ages 6󈝷, prevalence increased from 6.5 percent to 17 percent and for those ages 12󈝿 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.


Contact: Jade Waddy
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

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