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Expert on controlling body weight will speak at U of I Nutrition Symposium

Published March 31, 2014
Prof. David Levitsky

URBANA, Ill. – Is losing weight as easy as stepping on the scale regularly and cutting calories when the number trends upward? Cornell University professor David Levitsky will answer that question in his keynote address, “The Weigh to Control Body Weight: The Only Way,” of the 2014 Illinois Nutritional Sciences Graduate Student Association Nutrition Symposium on Wednesday, April 23, from 4 to 5 p.m. in 180 Bevier Hall on the University of Illinois campus. The event is open to the public.

“It’s important that individuals take responsibility for maintaining their own healthy body weight. Regular self-weighing is the best tool we have to combat a slow but persistent gain in body weight over time,” the expert said.

Levitsky is a professor of nutritional sciences and psychology at Cornell University. He came to Cornell in 1968 as a National Institutes of Health postdoctoral fellow after obtaining a Ph.D. from Rutgers University in experimental psychology. The focus of his research has always been energy balance and the control of body weight.

“His laboratory has examined the effect of skipping meals on subsequent energy intake, school feeding programs, and the effect of portion sizes on energy intake,” said Jessica Hartke, assistant director of the U of I Division of Nutritional Sciences.

Levitsky has served on the Culinary Institute of America’s Review Board, was on the Board of Directors for the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behaviors, was a member of the National Research Council from 1979 to 1982, and is currently an editor of the British Journal of Nutrition.

Throughout his career, he has received many teaching and mentoring awards, including being named a Weiss Presidential Fellow, the highest teaching award given at Cornell; the New York State Chancellor’s Award; the Innovative Teaching Award in Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; the Excellence in Nutrition Education Award from the American Society for Nutrition; and the USDA Excellence in College and University Teaching Award.

He has also published more than 200 articles in refereed scientific journals.

A mini-symposium, “Nutrition, Cognition, and Exercise: Connecting the Themes,” featuring world-class U of I faculty researchers, will be featured before the keynote address. That event will take place from 12:45 to 2:45 p.m. in the Monsanto Room at the Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) Library, Information and Alumni Center, located at 1101 S. Goodwin Ave., Urbana.

The panel will include Rodney Johnson, director of the Division of Nutritional Sciences (DNS) and a professor of animal sciences; Justin Rhodes, associate professor of psychology and DNS; Neil Cohen, director of the Center for Nutrition, Learning, and Memory and a professor of psychology; and Jeffrey Woods, professor of kinesiology and community health and DNS.

DNS graduate students will compete in an oral research presentation competition from 9:15 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in the Monsanto Room at the ACES Library, and poster research presentations by DNS graduate students will be on display from 5:15 p.m. to 6:40 p.m. in the ACES Library Heritage Room. A special awards presentation will complete the symposium at 6:40 p.m.

The Nutrition Symposium is sponsored by Abbott Nutrition, Kraft Foods Group, Inc., Mead Johnson Nutrition, Pepsico, Inc., and Wrigley. Friends of the Nutrition Symposium include Campbell Soup Company, Hillshire Brands Company, Egg Nutrition Center, U of I College of ACES Office of Research, and U of I Departments of Animal Sciences, Food Science and Human Nutrition, and Kinesiology and Community Health.

“Our graduate students take full responsibility for planning and executing the Nutrition Symposium,” said Rodney Johnson, DNS director. “The event provides our students with an important professional development opportunity. I’m pleased that they have organized a wonderful program that can be enjoyed by the community.”

For more information, contact the Division of Nutritional Sciences at 217-333-4177 or or click here for the Nutrition Symposium schedule.