The Science of Obesity

December 1, 2011

Northwestern University, Chicago Campus, Hughes Auditorium
303 E Superior St, Chicago, IL, United States


Experts say that the major contributing factors to the obesity epidemic are complex and multiple, but lack of access to healthy, affordable food (“food deserts”), and uptake even when it is accessible, and insufficient physical activity are believed to be the most significant. These contributing factors are also influenced by particular regional, social, cultural, racial, economic, and environmental features. The health and socioeconomic consequences are staggering and far reaching. Research has shown that obesity is related to more than 20 major chronic diseases and conditions. Among other diseases, obesity increases the risks for heart disease, cancer and stroke as well as Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and osteoarthritis. The poor overall health of Americans can lead to a less-productive workplace and the associated health problems have a significant economic impact on the U.S. health care system.

What are the health effects of being obese? What have scientists learned about the relationship between obesity and chronic conditions and diseases? How can we make healthier food choices? And how can we improve our children’s eating and physical activity habits? Chicago-based scientists will present the current science of obesity, describing the various ways obesity harms the body, how our food choices can impact our health and the different health-determinant patterns locally and nationally.

Moderator: Mary J.C. Hendrix, Ph.D., President and Scientific Director, Children’s Memorial Research Center
Kristen Knutson, PhD., Assistant Professor of Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Chicago
• Britt Burton-Freeman, PhD., Director of Nutrition and Assistant Professor Research in Biology, Clinical Nutrition Research Center, Illinois Institute of Technology
• Arlene L. Hankinson MD., MS., Instructor, Department of Preventive Medicine, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Topic Resources:
Teen Heart Disease
Lessen weight gain going into middle age
Regular Exercise While Young May Slow Middle-Age Spread
Physical Activity and Weight Gain Over 20 Years
Tomatoes combat killer diseases – and are even more potent when cooked
Sleep and the epidemic of obesity in children and adults


Discounted parking will be made available at the 222 E. Huron St. garage: Parking Map


Registration is valid for both programs!



Event Details

The Chicago Council on Science and Technology and the Center for Human Potential and Public Policy present:


Thursday, December 1 2011
Hughes Auditorium, Northwestern University
303 E. Superior St, Chicago

Part I. Registration and Reception 3:00pm
Program 3:30pm-5:00pm

Fees apply: Non-members $15, Students $5