Obesity & Cancer

Obesity & Cancer

The purpose of the Obesity and Cancer Section is to promote research, education and advocacy related to cancer, including: understanding how obesity affects etiology, prevention and management of cancer; the development of effective strategies, interventions and educational efforts that may reduce the impact of obesity on cancer risk and progression; and promote the dissemination of knowledge of the obesity-cancer relationship to the scientific community, clinicians and the public.

More information about Obesity and Cancer is available in our fact sheet.




  • Facilitate networking among Section members and others to promote more research in obesity and cancer, across the continuum of research from cell and molecular biology, integrative biology, clinical studies, and population studies.
  • Encourage members (and recruit new members) to submit abstracts relevant to obesity and cancer to The Obesity Society's Annual Scientific Meeting.
  • Promote participation in TOS and cancer-obesity research among junior investigators and early career scientists.


  • Develop symposia concepts focused on obesity and cancer for The Obesity Society's Annual Scientific Meeting.
  • Contribute to the Society's target clinicians, including participation in meeting clinician-professional practice sessions, to increase their awareness of the relationship between obesity and cancer risk and progression.
  • Participate in the development and promote the dissemination of the American Cancer Society diet and physical activity prevention recommendations.


  • Communicate accurate information about the obesity-cancer relationship to professional and lay audiences, as a representative of the Society and the Section.
  • Encourage the involvement of cancer researchers and advocates in obesity research and education, through membership in the Society and participation in Society activities.



Obesity and Cancer Section Newsletter January 2017

Obesity and Cancer Section Newsletter March 2016

Obesity and Cancer Section Newsletter December 2015

Obesity and Cancer Section Newsletter October 2015

Obesity and Cancer Section Newsletter March 2015

Obesity and Cancer Section Newsletter August 2014

Join the Obesity and Cancer Section

All section members must be a member of The Obesity Society. 

If you are not a member of The Obesity Society, join today.  Be certain to select the Obesity and Cancer Section when completing your profile.

If you are already a member and would like to join the Obesity and Cancer Section please login to your member profile and select the Obesity and Cancer Section. Once you have updated your profile, you will receive all communications pertaining to the section.

Please contact Shameeka Green, sgreen@obesity.org, Volunteer Manager, if you have any questions.



Kathryn H. Schmitz, PhD, MPH, FACSM (Chair , 2016-2017)

Penn State College of Medicine, Hershey, PA

Kathryn Schmitz, Ph.D., M.P.H., FACSM, is a professor at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Medicine and a member of the Abramson Cancer Center at Penn Medicine. She is an exercise interventionist who has led multiple trials, including a large randomized controlled trial to assess the safety of upper body exercise among 295 breast cancer survivors with and without lymphedema (Physical Activity and Lymphedema Trial [PAL]). Her research extends from the role of physical activity in the prevention and etiology of obesity-related cancers to the usefulness of activity for rehabilitation and health promotion in cancer survivors of all cancers. Her meta-analyses on the topic of exercise interventions in cancer patients and survivors provide a starting point for clinicians to understand the effects of exercise among cancer survivors. Dr. Schmitz has over 100 peer-reviewed scientific papers and has had continuous NIH funding for her research since 2001.

Vijay Hegde, PhD (Chair-Elect, 2016-2017)

Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX

Vijay Hegde, PhD is an Assistant Professor at Texas Tech University in the Department of Nutritional Sciences. Dr. Hegde's primary research interests are to discover effective strategies to prevent or treat obesity and its related comorbidities. More specifically, his research is focused on the E4orf1 protein of human adenovirus type 36 (Ad36), which is necessary and sufficient to increase adiposity and to improve glucose disposal. Current studies are focused in developing E4orf1 of Ad36 as a novel therapeutic agent to improve diabetes. His additional research interests are to understand the higher risk associated with many forms of cancer among people with diabetes and/or obesity.

Ramona Salcedo Price, PhD (Secretary/Treasurer, 2016-2017)                    

Texas State University, San Marcos, TX

Dr. Price earned her B.S. in Dietetics and Ph.D. in Nutritional Sciences from The University of Texas at Austin. Thereafter, she was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship to research epigenetic regulation of obesity-induced prostate cancer progression.
Dr. Price’s research focuses on nutrient-gene interaction, obesity and invasive cancer. Primarily, her research program focuses on identifying the underlying molecular mechanisms that link obesity and cancer. In particular, she is interested in the communicative network of hormones, growth factors and cytokines and their effect on prostatic tumorigenesis. In addition to the systemic aberrations of obesity, Dr. Price is interested in dissecting the bi-directional, supportive communication between tumors and its microenvironment. Using several models of liver and prostate cancer, she investigates the cellular, and molecular changes mediated by obesity. The goal of this work is to optimize strategies to prevent the advancement of cancer among obese individuals.
Dr. Price has published several peer-reviewed articles on obesity and cancer. To build on these initial studies, Dr. Price is collaborating with Central Texas Medical Center to further explore cancer incidence in several Central Texas counties.

Arwa Jawadi, MS (Early Career Representative, 2015-2017)

Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX

Arwa Aljawadi received her Bachelor's degree in Medical Engineering from the University of Technology in Mosul, Iraq in 2005. She then worked as a teaching assistant for four years in the same university. In 2010, Arwa received a Fulbright scholarship from the US Department of State to pursue her graduate studies in the United States, where she joined the Master's program at Texas Tech University. Arwa successfully completed her Master's degree in Nutritional Sciences in 2013. Currently, she is a second year graduate student and a PhD candidate in Dr. Naima Moustaid-Moussa's lab. Her current research project investigates the relationship between obesity and breast cancer in postmenopausal women. Her research focuses on understanding how obesity can increase the risk of breast cancer through, first, inflammation where the pro-inflammatory cytokines that are released by adipose tissue can enrich the tumor microenvironment, and second, through exosomes as a method of cellular interaction between adipose tissue and cancer cells. Furthermore, she is also investigating the effects of omega-3 fatty acids, specifically eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), as a dietary intervention to reduce and/or prevent breast cancer. Upon completing her PhD, Arwa intends to conduct postdoctoral studies in cancer and obesity. Her goal is to attain a faculty position to teach and conduct additional research in cancer and obesity, in a research-oriented university.

Wendy Demark-Wahnefried, PhD, RD (Past Chair, 2016-2017)wendydemark wahnefried

University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL

Wendy Demark-Wahnefried, PhD, RD, is professor and Webb Endowed Chair of Nutrition Sciences and the associate director for cancer prevention and control at the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Demark-Wahnefried is a nutrition scientist with training in biochemistry, genetics, and behavioral science. She was recently recruited (spring 2010) from M.D. Anderson Cancer Center where she was a full professor in the Division of Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences; earlier in her career she was at Duke University Medical Center. For the past two decades, her research career has spanned basic science studies focused on determining mechanisms of action of food-related components on neoplastic progression, to clinical research that involves nutrition-related concerns of cancer patients, as well as determining effective lifestyle interventions that improve the overall health of cancer survivors and their families. Her laboratory has conducted some of the largest studies exploring metabolic and body composition changes in response to cancer treatment. An area of research in which Dr. Demark-Wahnefried has experienced particular success is the delivery of home-based lifestyle interventions among cancer survivors, where she has led and continues to lead a number of NIH-funded trials aimed at improving the diet and exercise behavioral of cancer survivors. She was a named a Komen Professor of Survivorship for her work in this arena. Dr. Demark-Wahnefried serves on the several boards and panels, including the American Cancer Society, several NIH standing and ad-hoc committees, and the World Cancer Fund. Her research interests include diet/hormonal and genetic interactions and their association with neoplasia (specifically breast and prostate cancer); dietary intervention to prevent chronic disease factors affecting compliance and recidivism; and lifestyle modification among cancer survivors.

Deanna M. Hoelscher, PhD, RD, LD, CNS, FISBNPA  (Council Liaison, 2015-2017)

University of Texas School of Public Health, Austin, TX

I am delighted to serve as the TOS Council Liaison for the Obesity & Cancer Section. On behalf of the TOS Council, I would like to welcome you all to this Section. I also encourage you to become involved in TOS and to take advantage of the opportunities to share your science, network, gain leadership skills, and help address one of the most pressing public health issues of our time.

My research interests focus on the upstream prevention of cancer through my research on child obesity and obesity-related behaviors, specifically diet and physical activity. Our research team has developed, evaluated and disseminated several behaviorally-based programs for prevention of child obesity; these programs have focused on individual determinants as well as policy, system and environmental approaches. In addition, I have conducted several obesity epidemiology studies, including a statewide surveillance of child obesity in Texas. In 2012, I was a workgroup and committee member for the Texas Cancer Plan for the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT), which set goals for cancer research and prevention for the state.