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The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Former U professor addresses obesity

By Edgar Zuniga Jr.

A former U nutrition professor is addressing America’s obesity epidemic in an upcoming film and newly released book.

Shawn Talbott recently produced “Killer at Large” and wrote The Metabolic Method to understand the causes of, and find solutions to, obesity, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have labeled an “epidemic (that) is threatening the health of millions of Americans.”

Talbott, who also directed the U Nutrition Clinic, has conducted research for many years, mainly focusing on body chemistry and dietary supplements. In his new ventures, he is focusing on the effects of stress, portions and government policies.

“Everybody knows obesity is a big problem, but I want people to do something about it themselves,” Talbott said.

Much of the film, which has been submitted to numerous film festivals in the United States and Canada, deals with government policies such as No Child Left Behind and the National School Lunch Program as well as inadequate school budgets that push schools to bring in vending machines.

The film explores these issues through the experience of Brooke Bates, a 12-year-old girl who underwent liposuction to shed more than 30 lbs. off her 220-lb. body.

Talbott said he is “not pointing the finger at Coca-Cola, McDonald’s or the Bush administration,” but rather exposing this so people can inform their own opinions.

Along with being informed, Talbott said people need to realize obesity is also an issue of personal responsibility. To help people become nutritionally responsible, Talbott has developed a method to decrease stress and allow people to better measure meal portions.

“Losing weight isn’t just about exercising and eating less,” Talbott said. “Stress can change your behavior.”

In his new book, he wrote that even small amounts of stress can make the body not release fat.

Talbott has previously written about cortisol, a stress hormone that regulates food storage. In his new book, he explained how stress affects the body’s metabolism even if a person is actively trying to lose weight.

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