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Research summit seeks solution to obesity
To combat the rising rates of obesity among Americans, intensive short- and long-term research on the influences affecting food consumption and physical activity is needed, according to leading experts in the fields of food science, public health, and nutrition. The experts in February met at IFT’s research summit, “The Obesity Conundrum—Is There a Food Solution?” to create an exhaustive list of preliminary recommendations for research necessary to solve the growing problem of overweight and obesity.
The preliminary recommendations included, but were not limited to, the following:
• Predictive biomarkers for identifying risks for obesity.
• Real-life studies on people’s motivations to choose foods, and their motivations to begin and cease eating.
• Preventive measures to enhance proper weight management and combat obesity.
• The study of positive and negative behavioral messages for different populations such as children.
• Technological advancements for measuring personal caloric and nutritive intake and physical exertion.
• Short- and long-term studies of influences on lifestyle that lead to healthy and unhealthy weight.
• Factors regarding pre-natal, infant, and childhood nutrition.
Worldwide, about 1.1 billion people are overweight and 300 million are obese, 130 million of them in the United States. Obesity has been linked to cardiovascular disease, hypertension, osteoarthritis, and other debilitating health problems.
The final report, to be issued this spring, will be published in the May issue of Food Technology. It will identify research gaps that, when filled with sound scientific data as recommended, can be expected to lead to successful methods of managing obesity, and reduce the occurrence of obesity and its related acute and chronic diseases.
IFT supports sodium reduction recommendations
The National Academies’ Institute of Medicine in February issued a report calling for substantial reductions in sodium consumption and further food research to determine additional technologies for reducing sodium levels in processed products while maintaining their safety and quality. IFT subsequently issued a statement supporting these recommendations.
Reductions in sodium consumption are expected to positively affect, when fully implemented, the health of a substantial portion of Americans who suffer from elevated blood pressure. The rate of salt intake by the U.S. consumer has not altered substantially over the past 25 years, even though consumption habits and food product choices have changed considerably in recent decades.
The report, which also examines water, potassium, and sulfate intake, can be accessed at www.nap.edu/books/0309091691/html.
IFT staff changes
Several staff changes have occurred at IFT’s world headquarters in Chicago, Ill.
Marc J. Bernstein in February joined IFT as Director of Information Technology. He previously worked as both an information technology executive and consultant and has 20 years experience in desktop and database applications and Internet and infrastructure systems. In his new role, Marc will be responsible for IFT’s information technology strategy and operations. He earned his B.S. degree in computer engineering from the University of Illinois.
Curtis L. Mattson has been promoted to Managing Editor, IFT Scientific Journals. His responsibilities include overall management for Journal of Food Science, Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, and Journal of Food Science Education. Since joining IFT in 1985, Mattson has served as Classified Advertising Manager and Production Manager for Food Technology, and Production and Graphics Manager for Journal of Food Science. He earned his B.S. degree from Wheaton College and MDiv. from Covenant Seminary and is currently enrolled in the MBA program at Keller Graduate School of Management.
Carole R. Hirth has been promoted to Manager, Manuscript Submission and Review. She will oversee the day-to-day management of the Journal of Food Science’s electronic manuscript submission system and will assist authors and reviewers with the process. Prior to joining IFT in 2000, Hirth worked in sales and marketing at Yardley of London and Jim Beam Liquor Distillers. She earned her Certificate in Business Administration from North Center Business College, A.A. degree from Loop City College, and B.S. degree from Northwestern University.
Elizabeth R. Seidlitz in January joined IFT as Administrative Assistant for the executive office. Prior to joining IFT, Seidlitz interned at St. Louis Shriners Hospital for Children and Cassidy & Associates. She earned her B.A. degree in Spanish, with a minor in business and psychology, from Washington University.
by KAREN BANASIAK