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University of Missouri

MU to Host Childhood Obesity Symposium

Multiple factors contribute to obesity.

Janet Farmer

Janet Farmer. Photo by MU Publications.

More than one-third of Americans are obese. In Missouri, 31 percent of adults and 28 percent of children and adolescents suffer from the condition, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many experts are realizing that the fattening of America results from a combination of nutrition, biology, behavior, social circle, environment and economics.

Janet E. Farmer, PhD ’91, a professor of health psychology in the School of Health Professions, leads an interdisciplinary approach to learn more about what triggers obesity, which places people at risk for serious chronic health conditions. Farmer has gathered experts from nine MU units — including the School of Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, School of Health Professions, the College of Education, and the College of Arts and Science — to examine causes and propose solutions. Farmer says MU is ideally suited for the effort due to its interdisciplinary partnerships. The network, which in fall 2012 received $5,000 in seed money from Mizzou Advantage, is planning a fall 2013 MU childhood obesity symposium. “The idea is to intervene in children’s lives early to address the multiple factors that cause obesity,” Farmer says. “Eventually we want to set up models that work at a national level.”