Battling obesity

Battling obesity

UGA Research magazine explored the issue of obesity in Georgia and the financial costs to the state in the fall 2011 issue. This illustration, by Jay B. Bauer, first appeared on the cover of that publication. Read the story at

UGA has launched a major campus-wide initiative to help the state address its growing epidemic of adult and childhood obesity.

To develop this initiative, UGA will blend obesity-related instruction and research activities with public service and outreach components to develop obesity prevention and treatment programs that interested Georgia communities, employers and healthcare providers can implement.

Georgia ranks among the worst in the nation for adult and childhood obesity. Over 65 percent of adults and 40 percent of children are overweight or obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Obesity increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and some cancers, costing the state an estimated $2.4 billion annually—the equivalent of $250 per Georgian each year—in direct health care costs and lost productivity from disease, disability and death, according to the CDC. People who are obese have average annual medical expenses $1,400 higher than those who aren’t overweight.

More than 75 UGA faculty members are active in collaborative teams with activities ranging from basic research on obesity, metabolism, genetics and disease to the development of pharmaceuticals, weight management interventions, gaming and mobile technologies for health messaging and innovative after-school exercise programs. The initiative will be based at UGA’s newly opened 56-acre Health Sciences Campus, which will eventually be home to the Georgia Health Sciences University/UGA Medical Partnership, the College of Public Health and other health-related programs.

Learn more at