W.R. Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Nutrition University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Dr. Barry Popkin has a PhD in agricultural economics and established the Division of Nutrition Epidemiology at UNC and later established and ran the UNC Interdisciplinary Obesity Center, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). He has developed the concept of the Nutrition Transition, the study of the dynamic shifts in dietary intake and physical activity patterns and trends and obesity and other nutrition-related noncommunicable diseases. His research program focuses globally on understanding the shifts in stages of the transition and programs and policies to improve the population health linked with this transition (see www.nutrans.org). His research is primarily funded by the NIH. In the U.S., Popkin’s work involves long-term research on the economic and physical environment with The Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults Study (CARDIA) and the UNC Food Research Program, which has developed a method to monitor changes the entire factory to fork food system and is using this to evaluate global food company activities as well as those of retailers and their impact on our diets.
Popkin’s international research is equally large-scale. He was an original member of the G-7 first mission to work with the former Soviet Union and later Russia and has participated in an array of international initiatives organized by multilateral agencies around food, hunger, and obesity. Popkin directs longitudinal surveys in China and Russia and is also involved in survey research in other countries, including Brazil, Mexico, the United Arab Emirates, India, Norway and the Philippines. He is actively involved at the national and global level in policy formulation for many countries, particularly Mexico, South East Asia, and China. He has played a central role in placing the concerns of global obesity, its determinants, and consequences on the global stage and is now actively involved in work on the program and policy design and evaluation side at the national level. He has received a number of major awards for his global contributions, including: Gopalan Award, India; UK Rank Science Prize; U.S. Kellogg Prize for Outstanding International Nutrition Research; and The Obesity Society Mickey Stunkard Lifetime Achievement Award. He has published over 460 refereed journal articles, is one of the most cited nutrition scholars in the world, and is the author of a new book entitled The World is Fat (January 2009, Avery-Penguin Publishers), translated into 11 languages.
Watch Dr. Popkin's lecture, "The World Is Fat: Child Obesity and Food System Dynamics" and his interview with Austin American-Statesman reporter, Addie Broyles: --Download the presentation slides (PDF)--