Exploring why we unknowingly overeat and how the food industry influences nutrition and health will be the emphasis of the fourth annual UNM obesity symposium, "Mindful Eating Strategies To Overcome The Obesigenic Environment," from 8 to 5 p.m. Friday, May 12 at the Sandia Casino.

Speakers include nationally known authors and presenters, Brian Wansink and Marion Nestle, Department of Health staff and UNM clinicians.Wansink will discuss, "Mindless Eating: The Hidden Persuaders that Make Us Lose or Gain Weight," and Nestle will talk about the politics of obesity and strategies for change during sessions of the conference.

New Mexico spends an estimated $324 million annually on direct adult medical costs for preventive, diagnostic and treatment services that can be attributed to obesity. Since 1990, the number of obese adults has doubled both in New Mexico and nationwide, according to the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention and Department of Health's surveys. Almost a quarter of New Mexico high school students are overweight or at risk of becoming overweight."It's obvious that we all need to work together to curb this dangerous trend of rising obesity numbers," said Health Secretary Michelle Lujan Grisham. "We appreciate the opportunity to participate in a symposium that brings health-care providers together as important partners in fighting obesity in clinical and community settings across New Mexico." The Department of Health is co-sponsoring the obesity symposium.

The obesity epidemic has had a profound impact on public health. Overweight and obesity are associated with increased rates of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, asthma, arthritis, and some cancers. Chronic diseases such as these are responsible for six out of every 10 deaths in New Mexico, according to department statistics.

Reducing the rate of obesity is one of the department's top priorities. At the symposium, representatives from the department will discuss the State's draft comprehensive plan to reduce obesity, overweight and related chronic diseases. This first ever plan will be used as a guide for those devising effective interventions to promote healthful eating and physical activities in various settings.


Contact: Cindy Foster, 272-3322