AUFSI Obesity Working Group



Why an Obesity Working Group?

Click on the map to go to the CDC website for more information
Click on the map to go to the CDC website for more information

Although Alabama’s overall ranking has improved from 48th in 2011 to 45th in 2012 (, obesity is an epidemic in Alabama. Alabama has the fourth highest rate of adult obesity in the nation (33 percent) and the sixth highest rate of overweight youths ages 10-17 (36 percent). Overall, two-thirds of Alabama’s adults are either overweight or obese, and 14 of the state’s counties have obesity rates of more than 40 percent. In fact, two counties have obesity rates approaching 50 percent. If obesity rates continue on the current trajectory, by 2030 Alabama could have statewide adult obesity rates above 60 percent. Auburn University has numerous experts whose focus in some way is obesity and the health-related concerns related to obesity; the Auburn University Food Systems Institute (AUFSI) has brought these specialists from a variety of disciplines together to encourage them to share their ideas and research.


Research Spotlight

Childhood Obesity and Kids-Check Screening

Nationwide, nearly one third of school-aged children are considered overweight or obese. In at least one county in Alabama that percentage is much higher, according to the Kid-Check project.Kid- Check is an outreach project that partners schools of nursing with public school systems to provide health screening for school-age children and identify health issues that might interfere with learning

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The association between body weight, value of the future and dietary behavior

People who are overweight insist they want to lose pounds, but they often fail to limit food intake or get the necessary exercise. Numerous factors affect their decision not to do what they need to do, which seems irrational. That conundrum led Dr. Kim Garza to ask whether people who are overweight or obese value the future differently from people who are a healthy weight, and ask how this difference might be related to dietary behaviors.

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Academy fights high rates of childhood obesity in Black Belt

Every summer, the Sustainable Health and Fitness Academy (SHAFA), a project of the Tuskegee University Cooperative Extension Program, reaches deep into the heart of the region known as the Black Belt, capitalizing on the trust in Tuskegee University that has been built up with the region’s African-American population over generations. Obesity Working Group member Dr. Lekan Ayanwale, from Tuskegee University, leads SHAFA, which for the last 10 years has taught young people about the importance of healthy eating habits and exercise.

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Using GIS to map the 'food environment'

Yingru Li’s findings suggest that policymakers and planners need to improve community food environments in low-income, minority communities

When the average person hears about GIS, he or she is probably thinking about getting directions from one point to another without getting lost (that’s actually GPS). For Dr. Yingru Li, GIS—geographic information system—is a sophisticated tool for studying childhood obesity.

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