How can researchers get a handle on the growing obesity epidemic?  More than a third of Americans are obese, and a number of factors — including genetics, environment, psychology, and economics — are to blame.

A conference entitled, “How Can Translational Research Solve the Obesity Epidemic?” will take place June 17-18 at The Inn at Virginia Tech, sponsored by the Fralin Translational Obesity Research Center and the Fralin Life Science Institute at Virginia Tech.

Virginia Tech faculty members and graduate students will give presentations on diverse research topics, including the connection between water consumption and weight management, childhood obesity, treatment of accelerated vascular aging in obesity, and obesity’s impact on skeletal muscle. Additionally, four distinguished visiting guests will give presentations.

The conference is open to anyone; standard registration is $125 and student registration is $50.  Registration includes a continental breakfast and continuous refreshment services on Monday and Tuesday, a buffet lunch and a reception during the poster session on Monday. The last day to register is today.  The media is invited to all presentations.

“Since there are so many different causes of obesity from biological factors to psychological factors to environmental factors, this conference was developed to bring together scientists and students from all of these disciplines, and others, to come up with solutions that can be translated into clinical and public health practice to stop the obesity epidemic in its tracks,” said Paul Estabrooks, co-director of the Fralin Translational Obesity Research Center, and a professor of human nutrition, foods and exercise in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.  Estabrooks is also a professor of Family Medicine in the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine.

“As a doctoral student that has also spent years on the frontlines working as a health educator, I have seen firsthand how individuals and communities are struggling with the complexities and consequences of obesity,” said Sallie Beth Johnson of Southern Pines, N.C., a Ph.D. student in human nutrition, foods and exercise, who is enrolled in the interdisciplinary graduate education program for translational obesity research. “By bringing together a variety of disciplines, the conference aspires to start a new, shared conversation about obesity. From national experts to local students, participants will be provided an opportunity to learn from each other and jointly formulate ideas to work as a team for more promising practices.”