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UTHealth hosts Texas Obesity Awareness Week

Awards ceremony will spotlight those fighting obesity in the state

HOUSTON – (Sept. 10, 2012) – Efforts being made throughout Texas to combat obesity will be highlighted during the 5th Annual Texas Obesity Awareness Week (TOAW), which kicked off Sept. 9. The activities are hosted by the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living, part of The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth).

“Texans have been very progressive in addressing obesity and its related medical problems through evidence-based programs, policies and practices, and we have seen positive changes as a result. However, it is important that we keep this issue on the front burner and redouble our efforts to ensure that these changes are maintained and strengthened to ensure a healthier future for our children,” said Deanna Hoelscher, Ph.D., R.D., director of the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living. “Texas Obesity Awareness Week provides us with a forum and platform to remind people about the seriousness of this problem and to highlight champions in the fight against obesity.”


Speakers at the Texas Health Champion Award Ceremony, will present about what Texas communities and organizations are doing to curb the obesity epidemic. Nominations for the Award were open to the public, and the award recipient was determined by representatives from TOAW’s planning partners.


6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 13


Deanna Hoelscher, Ph.D., R.D., director of the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living, located at The University of Texas School of Public Health Austin Regional Campus, part of UTHealth, will lead the presentation honoring this year’s award recipient and health champion in the fight against obesity in Texas.

Award recipient Kay Morris, founder and of Marathon Kids, which was founded more than 15 years ago in her small apartment in Austin. More than 1 million children have taken the 26.2-mile Marathon Kids challenge. It is a free, six-month, evidence-based program focusing on endurance-building, running/walking, nutrition and schoolyard gardening program for elementary school children and their families.

Margo Wootan, director of nutrition policy at the Center for Science in the Public Interest in Washington, D.C., will deliver the keynote address supporting Americans’ efforts to eat well and watch their weight.


J.J. Pickle Research Center
3925 West Braker Lane
Austin, TX 78759


Established in 2007 by House Bill 2313, the week brings awareness of the health risks associated with obesity and aims to encourage Texans to achieve and maintain healthy lifestyles. For information visit:


Jade Waddy, UTHealth, 713-500-3307,

On-Site Contact: Brooks Ballard, (512) 294-8666 mobile

Jade Waddy
Media Contact: 713-500-3030