Childhood obesity is conference focus

The Kannapolis Scholars, a program of N.C. State University, will host a one-day conference at the N.C. Research Campus to address the challenges of childhood obesity.

The event – “Lost in Translation: A Conversation in Childhood Obesity” – will be held on Friday, August 5, 2011, from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event is open to the public only through a live webinar – click here to register.

Speakers from academia, industry and government, as well as community stakeholders, will converge on the Research Campus to discuss the issue of childhood obesity, which has become an increasing concern not only in the United States, but worldwide.

Currently, roughly 17 percent of American children are obese. Overweight children are often at a greater risk for many chronic diseases, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease and certain cancers that are traditionally seen only in adults. Among the speakers will be Dr. Etta Saltos, National Program Leader, Division of Nutrition, National Institute of Agriculture and Nutrition with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“Most ongoing efforts in the battle against childhood obesity tend not to communicate to a diverse audience and are generally focused within a specific field,” said Dr. Jack Odle, Kannapolis Scholars director and William Neal Reynolds Professor of Nutritional Biochemistry at N.C. State University. “By opening a dialogue among government, industry and individual sources using a transdisciplinary approach, we will highlight the aspects of childhood obesity where our progress has been ‘lost in translation’ from scientists to the community, government to industry and everywhere in between.”

The event will be broadcast online via a webinar beginning at 10 a.m. A complete agenda and other event details can be found at or by emailing

The Kannapolis Scholars program, funded through a $1 million U.S. Department of Agriculture – Agriculture & Food Research Initiative (USDA-AFRI) grant, brings graduate students to the N.C. Research Campus for a unique, transdisciplinary training program. The 6 graduates currently in the program research food science, nutrition and human health under the direction of mentors from each of the eight participating universities: Appalachian State, Duke, N.C. A&T, N.C. Central,  N.C. State, UNC-Chapel Hill, UNC Charlotte and UNC Greensboro.

The N.C. State University Plants for Human Health Institute is part of the N.C. Research Campus. Currently, institute director Dr. Mary Ann Lila and Dr. Penelope Perkins-Veazie, a postharvest physiologist, also with PHHI, are mentors in the Kannapolis Scholars program. The N.C. Research Campus is a public-private venture including eight universities, the David H. Murdock Research Institute (DHMRI) and corporate entities that collaborate to advance the fields of nutrition and health.

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