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Inside Iowa State, a newspaper for faculty and staff, is published by the Office of University Relations.

October 7, 2005

Why are we an obese nation?

Judith Stern (below), a Distinguished professor in nutrition and internal medicine at the University of California, Davis, and co-founder of the American Obesity Association, gave a talk Sept. 28 on the obesity epidemic in the United States. Stern is the Helen LeBaron Hilton Chair in the College of Human Sciences. She will return to campus Nov. 2-6, Feb. 6-10, 2006, and May 15-19. To schedule a talk or classroom visit with her, contact Jane Meyer, 4-4437.

Judith Stern, lecturing

Some excerpts from Stern's Sept. 28 lecture:

  • "We do eat too much, but I sort of view it as: genetics loads the gun and environment pulls the trigger."
  • "Did you know that fat people have fat dogs and cats? They do. So, in fact, there are environmental factors, and the total amount of food that we eat has increased."
  • "In 1970, our per-person daily intake was 2,220 calories. Now it's 2,680. That's a difference of over 400 calories. Everybody should be fat, based on the mathematics of it all."
  • "You've got to ask the question when you're about to buy that 'special': What would it cost me to take off that weight?

"And the answer is not pretty. It has nothing to do with your willpower. It has to do with biological forces, that once you gain weight, the brain doesn't know you're not starving when you cut back on food."

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