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Watch: Lab-to-Table Conversation: ‘The Impact of Obesity on Health’

Obesity is a well-known risk factor for diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes. However, it is often considered to be a risk factor brought on by choice, or by inaction. This stigma, in combination with body image norms, oversimplifies obesity as it also complicates how individuals and society engage in discussions or interventions.  

“If you go up to anyone on the street and ask them how to cure schizophrenia, they will have no idea. But if you ask anyone how to cure obesity, they will think they know,” said Richard Simerly, Louise B. McGavock Professor and professor of molecular physiology and biophysics. “But it is much more complicated than that.” 

So, what are the scientific mechanisms by which obesity impacts the body? What are the genetic components of why some individuals struggle more with weight gain and loss? 

Join Alyssa Hasty as she explores these topics in the next Lab-to-Table Conversation from the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine Basic Sciences. It will be Nov. 30, noon–1 p.m. CT, and will feature: 

  • Dr. Shari Barkin, chair of the Department of Pediatrics and physician-in-chief of Children’s Hospital of Richmond at Virginia Commonwealth University. Barkin is the former director of pediatric obesity research at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. 
  • Owen McGuinness, professor of molecular physiology and biophysics and an expert in regulation of metabolic response to inflammation and interaction with nutrition. 
  • Dr. Gitanjali Srivastava, associate professor of medicine in the Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Metabolism, medical director of Vanderbilt Obesity Medicine and co-director of the Vanderbilt Weight Loss Center. 

Hasty, Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor in the Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics and associate dean for faculty of the Basic Sciences, is an expert in obesity. Her recent research focuses on the impact of yo-yo dieting on inflammation 

The virtual Lab-to-Table event is free and open to the public. Registration is required.