One of the largest grants ever awarded to the University of Kentucky focuses on better understanding the link between obesity and heart disease. Much of the eleven million dollar federal grant will go to study physical causes and consequences of obesity. UK Barnstable-Brown Diabetes Center Director Philip Kern says there are also behavioral and mental issues related to weight gain.
“If you are stressed or depressed, you want to feel better. Nobody wants to feel that way and so, you reach for a way to make yourself feel better. Food is a convenient way to do that,” said Kern.
Kern says food generally poses fewer dangers than cigarettes, alcohol, or other drugs in dealing with stress or depression. But, he says eating too much can still develop into a destructive behavior.
“Hardly anybody is perfect at this. It’s very hard to overcome the pressures of food and a sedentary lifestyle. It’s all over us. It takes real work. It takes real effort to try to combat this,” added Kern.
The newly announced grant will be used to study obesity and cardiovascular disease. The work is being directed by UK Professor Lisa Cassis.