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Media Advisory

"Confronting Obesity: Science, Society & Health" Conference

07 April 2004

ATTENTION: Health Reporters Covering Obesity in the U.S.

Contact: Sarah Yang
(510) 643-7741 scy@pa.urel.berkeley.edu

"Confronting Obesity: Science, Society & Health," a one-day conference addressing the complex factors related to the current obesity epidemic in the United States. Topics will include the economic policies that encourage food consumption, building designs that encourage a sedentary lifestyle and clinical treatments for obesity.

The conference is sponsored by the Center for Health Research at the University of California, Berkeley, along with the UC Berkeley Center for Weight and Health and the Kaiser Permanente Institute for Health Policy.

8 a.m. - 5:30 p.m., Thursday, April 15

Berkeley City Club, 2315 Durant Ave.

The scheduled conference speakers include:

* Steven Blair, director of epidemiology and clinical applications at The Cooper Institute in Dallas, Texas

* Kelly Brownell, professor and chair of psychology and director of the Center for Eating and Weight Disorders at Yale University

* Dr. William Dietz, director of the Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

* Dr. Van Hubbard, chief of the Nutritional Sciences Branch at the National Institutes of Health

Conference organizers say society is beginning to understand that obesity is a public health, rather than a personal choice, issue. They compare this shift to changes in attitudes towards smoking over the last 30 years. "The problem of obesity has moved beyond an issue of individual choice to become a societal problem that cries out for public policy change," said Pat Crawford, conference co-chair and co-director of UC Berkeley's Center for Weight and Health. "We need policies that make it easier for people to make healthy physical activity and dietary choices."

Full details of the conference agenda and the list of presenters are available online at http://ss2.berkeley.edu. The deadline for registration is Monday, April 12.