SEC Symposium on Obesity Prevention to Highlight Researchers from All Conference Universities

09/19/2014 12:04 PM

BATON ROUGE – All 14 member universities of the Southeastern Conference will be represented by faculty and administrators who will participate in the 2014 SEC Symposium in Atlanta on Sept. 21-23. A number of LSU researchers will be part of the discussion on “Prevention of Obesity: Overcoming a 21st Century Public Health Challenge” symposium at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta.

On Sunday, Sept. 21, Claude Bouchard, John W. Barton Sr. Chair in Genetics and Nutrition at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, and Nikhil Dhurandhar, John H. Hernandez Endowed Professor in Health Promotion at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, are scheduled to present during a session on “Genetic Influences on Weight Status.” Dhurandhar will discuss “Infectobesity: Obesity of Infectious Origin,” and Bouchard will discuss “A Genetic Predisposition is Among the Drivers of the Obesity Epidemic: Implications for Obesity Prevention Programs.”

On Monday, Sept. 22, Carol Lammi-Keefe, Alma Beth Clark Professor in the LSU School of Nutrition and Food Sciences, and Melinda Sothern, professor and Jim Finks Endowed Chair in Health Promotion Behavioral and Community Health Sciences at the LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans, are scheduled to present during a session on Early Life Influences on Weight Status. Lammi-Keefe will discuss “Childhood Obesity Early in Life: Role of Maternal Weight and Nutrition in Pregnancy,” and Sothern will discuss “Social Determinants, Pro-Inflammatory and Obesity-Related Metabolic Biomarkers in Developing Youth.”

Also on Monday, Sept. 22, Peter Katzmarzyk, professor and Marie Edana Corcoran Endowed Chair in Pediatric Obesity and Diabetes and associate executive director for Population and Public Health Sciences at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, will lead a breakout session on “Physiology of Obesity Prevention.”

As part of the symposium’s poster exhibits, Gina Eubanks, associate vice chancellor and program leader for nutrition and food sciences at the LSU AgCenter, will present on “Healthy Communities: Live Life Healthy West Carroll Parish.”

Each SEC university will be represented at the SEC Symposium University Showcase. The showcase, located in the Embassy Hall in the International Tower of the Hyatt Regency Atlanta, will consist of booths with materials and information highlighting each university’s strengths in research.

Obesity prevention and treatment are popular topics among media, lawmakers, healthcare professionals and others. And, while the subjects have gained attention during the past decade, the U.S. has not seen a significant reduction in population-level obesity rates over the same 10-year span. As a result, researchers at the SEC Symposium hope to identify ways to markedly reduce America’s obese and overweight populations, through prevention.

This year’s topics range from genetics, to technology and media, to environmental influences. The symposium is divided into eight sessions of formal presentations and includes informal breakout sessions intended to foster interaction and discussion among participants.

In addition to university presenters, there will also be two keynote speakers. On Sunday, Sept. 21, Nancy Brown, chief executive officer of the American Heart Association, will open the event. A second keynote address by Dr. Michael Lauer, director of the Division of Cardiovascular Sciences at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, will begin Monday, Sept. 22.

Established by SEC presidents and chancellors, the annual SEC Symposium is led by an SEC university and focuses on an issue of global interest. It also showcases the academic excellence and underscores the educational and economic contributions of the SEC’s members to the vitality of the Southeast region, nation and world.

The SEC Symposium is an academic conference-type event that also includes the SEC presidents, chancellors and provosts reception, poster exhibitions, and SEC University Showcase. To learn more about the 2014 SEC Symposium, visit

Ernie  Ballard 
LSU Media Relations

Posted on Friday, September 19, 2014