Health Summit to Focus on Obesity in Appalachia

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 21, 2011) − Researchers at the University of Kentucky are co-sponsoring a one-day conference focused on obesity in Appalachia on April 21 at the Lexington Convention Center.

UK's Center for Clinical and Translational Science is partnering with other Kentucky and regional institutions, local, state and national organizations, community groups, and interested community members to present “Appalachian Health Summit: Focus on Obesity.”

This scientific-based conference is intended for interested faculty, research personnel, trainees, scholars and administrators. It is also open to individuals in government agencies, private foundations and community organizations that are interested in improving the health status of the citizens of Appalachia.

The summit will also formally initiate the Appalachian Translational Research Network, dedicated to enhancing research collaborations and seeking new avenues to address significant health challenges and health disparities.

Dr. Baretta Casey, a UK professor of public health and summit chair, says that obesity is an area where health researchers and community partners can make a difference.

"The Appalachian region ranks among the highest in the country for a host of chronic and life-limiting diseases, including cancer, heart disease and diabetes," Casey said. "Obesity is a common risk factor for these health problems, and it too is prevalent in the region. By focusing on obesity, we hope to forge effective, collaborative interventions that can help to improve the overall health of Appalachia."

The summit will feature a keynote address by Dr. William Dietz, director of the Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Other sessions will focus on health disparities and health behaviors in Appalachia; childhood obesity, food and nutrition; research networks and collaboratives; and social networking for energy balance.

There is no registration fee for the conference; however, anyone planning to attend must register online no later than Friday, April 8. For more information or to register, please visit

Co-sponsors of the summit and partners in the ATRN include the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Ohio State University Center for Clinical and Translational Science, the University of Cincinnati Center for Clinical and Translational Science and Training, Marshall University and Pikeville College School of Osteopathic Medicine, along with the Appalachia Community Cancer Network and the UK Centers for Rural Health.