Renowned Expert To Address Childhood Obesity

Roy Martin, Merrill, Thomas A., Dowden, Lori  |  3/7/2007 11:03:42 PM

Dr. Theresa Nicklas

News Release Distributed 03/07/07

A renowned public health educator and researcher will address several facets of childhood obesity March 19 as part of an annual endowed lecture series on the LSU campus in Baton Rouge.

Dr. Theresa Nicklas, professor of pediatrics at the Baylor College of Medicine, will speak on the topic of "Overweight, Undernourished and at Risk: Tackling Today’s Childhood Nutrition Problems" during the 2007 Patrick Lecture at 7 p.m. March 19 in the Energy, Coast and Environment building on the LSU campus.

Among the issues she is expected to cover about the 6 million children who are overweight are why it’s happening, why it matters and what families and society can do about the problem.

"In the United States, 17 percent of children and adolescents are overweight, and this percentage is increasing at an alarming rate," said Dr. Roy Martin, director of the School of Human Ecology for the LSU AgCenter. "That’s why we’re proud to have Dr. Nicklas coming in to talk about such issues."

Nicklas and other experts point out that overweight children have higher blood pressure and cholesterol levels than their leaner counterparts and that these health conditions tend to follow them into adulthood. In addition, overweight children now are being diagnosed with diseases formerly seen only in adults, such as type 2 diabetes.

Such children also are stigmatized and discriminated against – another topic that is expected to be addressed by Nicklas.

Nicklas, who holds a doctoral degree in public health, has been a professor of pediatrics at the Children’s Nutrition Research Center at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, since 1999. Prior to joining Baylor, she also served as head of the Department of Food and Nutrition at North Dakota State University and as associate professor at the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.

Her current research interests are determining environmental factors influencing the development of eating patterns in early childhood, examining how these eating patterns relate to the onset of nutrition-related chronic disease and instituting effective intervention strategies for changing and maintaining healthful behavior changes, particularly in children and adolescents.

Nicklas’ visit to Baton Rouge represents the eighth in an annual series of lectures known as the Patrick Lecture Series – sponsored by an endowment established in 1998 by Drs. Bill and Ruth Patrick of Baton Rouge. The annual lectures bring a noted scholar with international distinction to the campus each year.

The subject of the annual Patrick Lecture alternates between human nutrition/food science and wetland sciences/coastal studies, which reflect the professional interests of the donors. The late Dr. Bill Patrick was director of the LSU Wetland Biogeochemistry Institute, and his wife Dr. Ruth Patrick was a food and nutrition specialist with the LSU AgCenter at the time they established the endowment for the lecture series.

In addition to the public lecture, Nicklas also is expected to participate in meetings and private lectures with LSU AgCenter faculty members and others to discuss the latest reports on dietary guidelines and other topics related to nutrition and health.


Roy Martin at (225) 578-2284 or
Lori Dowden at (225) 578-2409 or
Tom Merrill at (225) 578-2263 or

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