2012 Key Note Debate

It's with great pleasure that the Obesity Society announces a lively and informative debate on sugar-sweetened beverages for our presidential keynote presentation at Obesity 2012.

"The Role of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages in the Obesity Epidemic: Plague Rat or Red Herring?"

Two experts in the field of obesity will debate this timely topic.


David Allison, PhD
David Allison
Dr.  Allison is Distinguished Professor, Quetelet Endowed Professor of Public Health, Associate Dean for Science, Director of Office of Energetics, and Director of the NIH-funded Nutrition Obesity Research Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He has authored over 450 scientific publications and received many awards, including the 2002 Lilly Scientific Achievement Award from The Obesity Society, the 2002 Andre Mayer Award from the International Association for the Study of Obesity, the 2009 Centrum Award from the American Society of Nutrition, and the 2009 TOPS research achievement award from The Obesity Society. In 2006 the White House awarded him a Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring. He is an elected Fellow of many academic societies, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has served as an advisor aiding in the evaluation of scientific evidence to the numerous organizations, including the Federal Trade Commission, the FDA, and private industry.  Professor Allison has dedicated his career to seeking rigorous scientific evidence in his own research and has been a tireless voice calling for candid, forthright, and unvarnished presentations of scientific evidence in the academic and public health communities.

Frank Hu, MD, PhD


Dr. Frank Hu is Professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health and Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School and Channing Division of Network Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital.  Dr. Hu is Co-director of the Program in Obesity Epidemiology and Prevention at Harvard. He also serves as Director of the Harvard Transdisciplinary Research in Energetics and Cancer (TREC) Center and Epidemiology and Genetics Core of Boston Nutrition and Obesity Research Center (BNORC). His research is mainly focused on nutritional and lifestyle epidemiology of obesity and type 2 diabetes and gene-environment interactions. Dr. Hu's research group has conducted detailed examinations of the relationships between dietary and lifestyle factors (especially sugar-sweetened beverages, dietary patterns, and diet quality) and risk of obesity and diabetes. These findings have contributed to current public health recommendations for chronic disease prevention.Dr. Hu is also collaborating with researchers from China and India in obesity and diabetes epidemiologic and randomized intervention studies. He has published more than 500 original papers and reviews and a textbook on Obesity Epidemiology (Oxford University Press 2008). Dr. Hu is the recipient of the Kelly West Award for Outstanding Achievement in Epidemiology by American Diabetes Association in 2010.


The Keynote Debate will take place during Obesity 2012's Opening Session: Thursday, September 20th - 5:30 to 7:30 PM


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