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Obesity, Physical Activity and Nutrition

exercise and vegetables

Obesity, poor diet and physical inactivity are all risk factors that are among the leading causes of preventable morbidity and mortality. Our faculty work with the community, other KUMC departments, and regional health-care organizations to increase awareness and prevent illnesses related to obesity, poor diet and physical inactivity.


Researchers are developing programs to treat obesity among adults, increase participation in weight loss and exercise programs, and prevent obesity among children and adolescents. Current programs:

  • Use of handheld computers to help adolescent girls increase fruit and vegetable consumption, decrease sweetened beverage use, and decrease TV or screen time.
  • A weight control program for rural women with breast cancer uses behavioral strategies and psychosocial support to achieve gradual lifestyle change, increased physical activity, and decreased caloric intake in an effort to improve quality of life and reduce risk for breast cancer recurrence.
  • Reducing sedentary behavior among obese breast cancer survivors to improve metabolic parameters and enhance long-term weight control among women at high risk for breast cancer recurrence.
  • Applying neuroimaging methods such as functional magnetic renonance imaging (fMRI) to understand the interaction between brain and behavior, specifically examining how body weight relates to the evaluation of food and other rewards in our environment and decisions about short and long-term consequences. Learn more


In addition to the seminar course "Obesity and Public Health" our faculty members collaborate closely with the departments of Dietetics and Nutrition, Pediatrics, and Psychology at KU Lawrence. Faculty provide graduate research assistantships for students in Public Health, Nutrition, and Clinical Psychology with numerous opportunities for capstones, theses, and dissertations.

Last modified: Jun 30, 2019
Community Engagement

Researchers work closely with these local organizations and community cancer centers throughout the region to provide child and adult obesity programs:

Faculty also regularly consult with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment regarding best practices for obesity-related programs.