January 27, 2005

Cornell Professor Takes On Weight Control Study

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With 60 percent of Americans being classified as “overweight” and thirty percent as “obese,” weight control has developed into a serious problem in this country and worldwide.

Attempting to tackle this epidemic, Prof. David Levitsky, nutritional sciences, has begun a local study among eight to 12-year-old overweight children in order to research ways to control weight gain and prevent obesity in a later stage of life. The new study attempts to “hold weight constant as height increases,” Levitsky said, “hoping that the subjects will eventually thin out.”

The study focuses on eight- to 12-year-olds in order to remedy obesity before the children enter their adolescent stage.

“The weight a person is in adolescence is the weight they’ll probably be for the rest of their life,” Levitsky said.

The new study does not utilize any form of dieting or excessive exercising. Instead, it emphasizes healthy eating, with a main goal of teaching the participants how keep their weight constant as they grow.

“This is actually a preliminary study to a study we want to do at the Cornell Weill Medical School in New York City,” Levitsky explained. “There we plan to focus on a primarily Hispanic and black demographic since obesity is at an extremely high rate amongst that population.”

The method of weight control which the study uses “comes out of work we just finished with freshmen” Levitsky said. In this last study, which Levitsky had been working on for the past five years, he discovered a technique freshman students can use in order to prevent gaining weight. According to Levitsky, the average weight gain of freshmen in the study was five to seven pounds in the first six weeks of school.

Levitsky plans to begin the study soon and is currently recruiting more participants.

Archived article by Emily Gordon
Sun Staff Writer