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Saturday, December 2, 2023


Battle of the bulge taken south of the border by prof

Obesity is a disease that affects the United States, but it also has risen in Mexico, and a UH professor recently named as a Fulbright Scholar is helping to combat the disease in both countries.

Rebecca Lee, an assistant professor of nutrition and director of UH’s Texas Obesity Research Center, will soon take her expertise to Guadalajara, Mexico, to assist in further discovery of this disease.

“I’m extremely pleased to receive this honor and hope that during this period of study my colleagues and I are able to make strides in this critical, growing global issue,” Lee said in a UH news release.

Lee and researchers from the University of Guadalajara’s Instituto de Ciencias Aplicada a la Actividad Fisica y al Deporte (Institue of Applied Sciences, Physical Activity and Sports) hope to develop procedures that health care practitioners and researchers can use to educate communities, and to train others in the battle both in Mexico and here in the US.

Research conducted during Lee’s time in Mexico will also aim to document and define obesity in a better fashion and determine possible environmental factors that contribute to a population’s obesity problem.

“Recent data suggest that the problem of obesity has emerged in Mexico, particularly among youth,” Lee said in the release.

While the US has the highest obesity rate worldwide, studies have cited Mexico as having the second highest, Lee said.

With obesity making such a common name for itself in today’s era, not only researchers are concerned about the epidemic, but students as well.

“It’s crazy how bad the disease has gotten,” accounting freshman Amy Smith said. “I think the biggest deal is that people are unaware of just how dangerous it is. And, since obesity is a household term, no one puts any thought into it.”

Lee is the director of UH’s Texas Obesity Research Center and has conducted numerous studies on factors that lead to obesity.

She is, according to the release, “hopeful her research and research methods can be used to develop strategies to prevent and reverse the emerging obesity epidemic in Jalisco.”

Lee, following her nine month stay in Guadalajara, will present the findings to both University officials and public officials.

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