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UTHealth honors obesity researcher Simon Barquera, M.D, Ph.D., at Lectureship in Child Health

Image of Deanna Hoelscher, Ph.D., R.D., presenting the Lectureship in Child Health award to Simon Barquera M.D, Ph.D.
Deanna Hoelscher, Ph.D., R.D., presenting the Lectureship in Child Health award to Simon Barquera M.D., Ph.D.

AUSTIN – (April 7, 2017) – Simon Barquera, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Nutrition Policy Research Division at the National Institute of Public Health of Mexico, was honored yesterday at the 11th annual Michael & Susan Dell Lectureship in Child Health. The lectureship is hosted each year by the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Public Health in Austin.

Barquera spoke to attendees at The University of Texas at Austin’s Blanton Museum of Art about his work in Mexico to combat the growing threat of diabetes and obesity: the process, results, pushback and challenges.

“Obesity affects mostly disadvantaged groups, but society pays the costs. Supporting vulnerable populations benefits everyone,” Barquera said to an audience of more than 280 people. “Obesity prevention requires interdisciplinary teams and international collaboration is absolutely necessary to modify the environment that supports obesity.”

The discussion was moderated by Deanna Hoelscher, Ph.D., R.D., director of the Center for Healthy Living.

“Barquera’s research has been instrumental in both providing an evidence base for the support of taxation of sodas as a public health strategy for obesity in Mexico, as well as in providing data that show that the policy is working to reduce soda consumption. This is important as it is documented that soda consumption is linked with obesity and other chronic diseases. We are excited to have learned more about the challenges and lessons learned from the Mexican experience,” said Hoelscher, the John P. McGovern Professor in Health Promotion at UTHealth School of Public Health in Austin.

Barquera has published more than 220 research papers and chapters and has 4,100 citations to his work. He is associate editor of the journal Public Health Nutrition and editorial board member of Global Health Epidemiology and Genomics. He was co-investigator on the Mexican Health and Nutrition Surveys conducted from 1999 to 2016. He serves many organizations, including as a member of the Ministry of Health Chronic Diseases advisory board, the Pan American Health Organization Expert Group on sodium reduction, the World Obesity Federation Scientific Advisory Board and fellow of the Obesity Society.

The Michael & Susan Dell Lectureship in Child Health includes an award for researchers and leaders in child health, bringing world-class speakers to the Austin area each spring. The annual lectureship was established in 2007 by UTHealth School of Public Health with funding from the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation.

About the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living

The Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living was founded in 2006 with a grant from the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation to The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Public Health. The Center for Healthy Living was established to conduct research to better understand and influence behaviors and environmental conditions that affect healthy living, with a vision of “healthy children in a healthy world.” The Center is housed at UTHealth School of Public Health in Austin.  For more information, visit www.msdcenter.org.

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