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Texas Obesity Research Center at UH assembles researchers to discuss obesity

Researchers from across the country will convene on the University of Houston for a two-day conference to discuss obesity, underlying biological processes, public health issues and intervention strategies.

The UH Texas Obesity Research Center (TORC) Conference is planned for April 9 10 at the UH M.D. Anderson Library, Rockwell Pavilion.

"We are excited about our inaugural conference and have high hopes that others will see the wealth of obesity research that is happening in Texas and in Houston," said TORC director and associate professor Rebecca Lee.

The Texas Obesity Research Center was founded in 2007 and is housed in the UH department of health and human performance. Funded by entities such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH), TORC promotes research, education and community collaborations.

James F. Sallis, professor of psychology at San Diego State University and the program director of Active Living Research, will deliver the keynote address. Active Living Research examines how environments and policies impact physical activity. Prevention of childhood obesity, particularly in ethnic populations, is a focus of the group's research.

Faculty from the department of health and human performance, together with state and national researchers, will lead sessions on integrated biology, public health and clinical application. Additionally, the conference will feature a poster session to heighten awareness of ongoing obesity research in Texas. An awards ceremony will recognize student scholars and translational research, studies that demonstrate their application from the lab to real life.

One session brings participants and officials from the NIH, Center for Disease Control and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation together to discuss the kinds of research and science that are being funded. A later session, a mock study section review, allows researchers to become familiar with a new review process that will be implemented by the NIH.

"We're hopeful that this conference will be a service to participants as well as an exchange of scientific ideas," Lee said. "There is a lot happening in this city. Houston truly is becoming the epicenter of health and obesity research."

Lee has done extensive research on the subject of obesity, in particular the neighborhood factors that may lead to obesity such as availability and quality of fresh produce, and the quality and quantity of physical activity resources available in neighborhoods. She also has promoted research and physical activity through the use of the virtual world of Second Life. In addition, she is a member of the NIH Center for Scientific Review's Community-Level Health Promotion Study Section.


Contact: Marisa Ramirez
University of Houston

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