Does this trunk make me look fat? Overweight Zoo elephants no laughing matterAfrican elephants in captivity are getting fat. While the thought of a pudgy pachyderm might produce a chuckle, it is a situation with potentially serious consequences for the species.
“Obesity affects about 40 percent of African elephants in captivity,” said Daniella Chusyd, M.A., a doctoral student in the University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of Nutrition Sciences.“Much as we see in humans, excess fat in elephants contributes to the development of heart disease, arthritis, a shorter lifespan and infertility.”
Infertility is the aspect that may be most troubling to Chusyd and colleagues. Nearly half of zoo African female elephants exhibit abnormal ovarian cycles, which is strongly correlated with a high body mass index, said Chusyd. According to a 2011 report by scientists at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, zoos in the United States need to average about six births each year to maintain a stable elephant population. But the current average is only around three births a year. Read More...
Fernández to participate in Dannon Institute’s Academic Mid-Career Nutrition Leadership Institute
José Fernández, PhD, has been selected as a participant in the Dannon Institute’s 2014 Academic Mid-Career Nutrition Leadership Institute. Created as a complement to the Nutrition Leadership Institute established in 1998, the intensive three-day training program—held in the Chicago area June 15-18, 2014—will provide an opportunity for faculty who have completed their terminal degree training 10 to 20 years ago to determine desirable characteristics of senior leaders and to explore and develop their capabilities, skills, and personal fit for leadership roles.
The main interest of the Professor and Vice Chair for Education in the Department of Nutrition Sciences is the identification of genetic and environmental contributors to health disparities in obesity, diabetes, and related comorbidities. Dr. Fernández is also interested in the development and applications of statistical methods to gene discovery, the identification and implementation of opportunities for integrating research and education, and the development of educational opportunities and programs to improve clinical and research training.
He serves on the editorial board for the journal Ethnicity and Disease and the International Journal of Obesity. Dr. Fernández has been the recipient of many awards, including the UAB President’s Faculty Diversity Award (2007), the UAB Dean’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring (2010), and the UAB School of Health Professions Joseph F Volker Outstanding Faculty Award (2012).