Students from UNC’s Gillings School of Global Public Health authored four of the seven epidemiology abstracts selected from 127 submissions for presentation at the 2015 Obesity Week conference. This annual scientific and educational event, hosted by The Obesity Society (TOS), brought together world experts in obesity research, treatment and prevention November 2-7 in Los Angeles.
[Photo: UNC awardees for Abstracts of Distinction are (l-r) Ms. Kamika Reynolds and Ms. Madison LeCroy and (r-l) Ms. Elyse Powell and Ms. Gabrielle Jenkins, posing with other honorees at the 2015 Obesity Week conference.]
The Gillings School honorees for “Abstracts of Distinction” are Ms. Gabrielle Jenkins and Ms. Kamika Reynolds, doctoral students in epidemiology, and Ms. Madison LeCroy and Ms. Elyse Powell, nutrition doctoral students minoring in epidemiology.
In addition, Ms. Reynolds was selected as the top prizewinner in the epidemiology section. She conducted an independent examination of different methodologies that scientists have proposed to measure body composition, ultimately identifying which methods work best.
“This was my first TOS conference,” Ms. Reynolds said. “It was great to hear the diverse obesity research being conducted, especially the presentations focused on intervention and prevention methods for obesity. I was grateful to be one of the poster presenters and was happy to see UNC so well represented. Above all, my experience at Obesity Week reinforced the value of the great methods training we receive at UNC.”
The other three epidemiology abstract presenters covered a wide variety of research topics.
Ms. Jenkins studied how the timing as well as amount of physical activity can influence cardiovascular disease risk factors in children.
Ms. LeCroy explored ways to measure what foods are in the homes of Southeast Asians living in Britain, with an eye toward understanding how available foods in the kitchen influence diets in young immigrant children.
Ms. Powell’s work investigated how including fruit juice concentrates and fruit juices in the definition of ‘added sugars’ dramatically changes the estimated amounts of added sugar from sweetened beverages purchased by United States households.
Ms. Powell is mentored by Dr. Barry Popkin, W.R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor of nutrition. Ms. Jenkins, Ms. LeCroy, and Ms. Reynolds are mentored by Dr. June Stevens, AICR/WCRF Distinguished Professor and former chair of the nutrition department.
“Our students are amazing,” said Dr. Stevens. “It is nice to see their excellence recognized.”
Thirteen other students and faculty members from the Gillings School also participated at Obesity Week via presentations, symposiums and lectures on subjects ranging from preschool policy effects on children’s physical activity to the feasibility of telemedicine interventions for obesity treatment.