Story written by Bob Shepard, UAB Media Relations

wendy demark wahnefried nutritionWendy Demark-Wahnefried, Ph.D., R.D., professor in the University of Alabama at BirminghamDepartment of Nutrition Sciences and the associate director for cancer prevention and control in the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center, has been named the chair-elect of the Obesity and Cancer Section of the Obesity Society. Her term as chair-elect begins Nov. 6, and she will assume the chair in November of 2015.

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.


elephant sAfrican 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...