Sydney Environment Institute


#2 Obesity in its social context

How does lifestyle interact with diets and environments to produce health obesogenic populations?

Thursday 21 August 2014
5.00 - 6.30pm

Level 6, Charles Perkins Centre

In association with Sydney Ideas

The world is in the midst of a spiraling obesity problem, but how do we frame this issue? How does lifestyle interact with diets and environments to produce health obesogenic populations? In this seminar, Prof David Raubenheimer, a  nutrition ecologist and Jane Dixon a sociologist engage with these questions.

Chair:  Associate Professor Robyn Alders, Faculty of Veterinary Science
Professor David Raubenheimer, Faculty Science
Dr Jane Dixon, Australian National University

Robyn Alders is an Associate Professor with the Faculty of Veterinary Science and the Charles Perkins Centre within the University of Sydney and a Director of the KYEEMA Foundation.  For over 20 years, she has worked closely with smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa and SE Asia as a veterinarian, researcher and colleague, with an emphasis on the development of sustainable infectious disease control in animals in rural areas in support of food security and poverty alleviation.  Robyn’s current research and development interests include food and nutrition security, One Health, gender equity and Science Communication.

In January 2011, Robyn was made an Officer of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to veterinary science as a researcher and educator, to the maintenance of food security in developing countries through livestock management and disease control programs.

David Raubenheimer is a comparative nutritional ecologist. His work applies an evolutionary and ecological approach to the study of how nutrients influence the interactions of animals with their environment, including their foraging behaviour, food choices, physiological responses and health and other consequences. To model these interactions, he has co-invented with Professor Steve Simpson a framework called Nutritional Geometry. Developed within the context of insect nutrition, Nutritional Geometry is now widely used in the study of animals from slime moulds to humans, and in contexts from the conservation of endangered species to agriculture, pet nutrition, relationships between nutrition and immunity, the causes of ageing and the human obesity epidemic. David is Professor of Nutritional Ecology and Nutrition Theme Leader in the Charles Perkins Centre, and Professor of Nutritional Ecology in the Faculty of Veterinary Science and School of Biological Sciences at the University of Sydney. He is author of over 200 journal articles and book chapters, and co-author of the book The Nature of Nutrition: A Unifying Framework from Animal Adaptation to Human Obesity (2012, Princeton University Press).

Jane Dixon is Senior Fellow at the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, Australian National University and an Associate Fellow of the Food Policy Centre, City University, London. For 13 years, she has conducted research at the intersection of sociology and public health, with a focus on the socio-cultural determinants of health and the health impacts of food system transformations.

Her fieldwork takes place mainly in Australia and Thailand. In more applied research, she has been a advisor to WHO Western Pacific Regional Office and has served the International Union of Health Promotion and Education in two capacities: membership on their Global Working Group on the Social Determinants of Health and writing a Food Systems Position Paper. She has co-edited and co-authored 2 books on obesity: The Seven Deadly Sins of Obesity (UNSW Press, 2007) and The Weight of Modernity (Springer, 2012).

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Image: Cecil Beaton Flickr Commons