Nutrition expert to discuss obesity

For students with mid-term papers, exams and projects piling up, it’s easy to forget about a well-balanced diet. Students of all majors will get the chance today to listen to one of the leading doctors in eating disorders and behavioral science.

Daniel Kirschenbaum, professor of psychiatry and behavioral health sciences at Northwestern University Medical School, will explain the details about obesity rates in America and his recent work with professional golfers, said Gloria Solomon, associate professor of kinesiology.

Solomon said diets are a learned behavior. Often, parents found it was more convenient and cost effective to feed their children fast food.

Solomon attended one of Kirschenbaum’s speeches last year at a conference in Salt Lake City. She said it was one of the most insightful speeches she has attended.

“I learned more in that hour and a half session than I have the last five years on obesity issues,” Solomon said. “As an exercise and sports psychologist, that’s saying a lot.”

Once Solomon learned her department would be sponsoring the Green Honors Chair, Kirschenbaum’s name was at the top of the list, she said.

“His name came forward because it’s a very contemporary topical issue, with the rates of obesity increasing,” Solomon said. “In the Harris College we also have a big nursing program so I thought he would overlap a lot of our different departments.”

Mary Ontiveros, a junior psychosocial kinesiology major, said she thinks many students weren’t well-versed in the science behind eating disorders.

Ontiveros said the number of obese children in America is a rapidly increasing problem that needs to be addressed. Before anything can be done to change the current trend, people need to be educated about the problem, she said.

“I think, by having people become aware of the situation, we can start to make that change,” Ontiveros said. “The earlier you start out exercising.when you’re a little kid, that pattern, that habit of working out and exercising, really seems to continue a lot for you when you get older.”

Getting children involved in sports at an early age will help them carry on a healthier life style, Ontiveros said. It’s also a good idea for people with an interest in teaching to attend the speech.

“I think it would be good for psychology majors or sociology majors,” she said. “Any majors that also have to do with just children in general…really need to be aware this is what is going on in our society. This is something that needs to change.”

Kirschenbaum was unavailable for comment before the event.

Green Honors Chair for the Department

of Kinesiology lecture

Who: Daniel Kirschenbaum

When: 6:30 p.m. tonight

Where: Kelly Alumni Center