By Kim Kaplan
April 5, 2016
"How can nutrition scientists help reverse the obesity epidemic?" is the subject of Susan B. Roberts' 2016 W.O. Atwater Memorial Lecture, which she delivered today at the Experimental Biology meeting in San Diego.
Roberts is internationally recognized as an expert in nutrition and a visionary when it comes to scientifically developing and testing new methods for dealing with obesity and weight control research.
The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) established the W.O. Atwater Memorial Lecture in 1968 to honor the memory of Wilbur Olin Atwater (1844-1907) and to recognize scientists who have made unique contributions toward improving the diet and nutrition of people around the world. Considered the father of modern nutrition research and education, Atwater was the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) first chief of nutrition investigations. ARS is USDA's main in-house scientific research agency.
Roberts' research has focused on combining research on the body's energy regulation with scientific exploration of ways to modify people's instinctive eating behaviors to develop strategies that successfully deal with obesity for the long term.
She summed up her Atwater Lecture by saying that obesity is the greatest threat to public health in our time but is currently receiving far less funding than other biomedical fields relative to the health problems it causes. She urges much greater funding for research and public health initiatives aimed at helping individuals and communities manage their weight.
Roberts is the author of several popular books including The "I" Diet and Feeding Your Child for Lifelong Health, as well as an online weight loss program and 240 research articles published in prestigious journals including the New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of the American Medical Association and The Lancet.
For more information about the W.O. Atwater Memorial Lecture, see http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/lectures/atwater.htm.