An estimated 66 percent of Americans are either obese or overweight, and 17 percent of children are considered obese. The way Lauren Rossen sees it, the obesity epidemic is “a pernicious health problem” that is little understood. “After decades of research delineating the various causes, consequences and treatments of obesity, why has the epidemic failed to abate?” Rossen asks.
As an obesity researcher for the past four years, Rossen has co-authored several studies on behavioral and surgical weight loss treatments and related psychosocial issues of obese patients. At the University of Pennsylvania, she helped develop and run a support group for adolescents considering bariatric surgery to ensure that the teens understood the benefits and drawbacks of the procedure. Working with these young patients as they contemplated such a drastic step to lose weight convinced Rossen that more research should be directed at prevention, rather than individual acute care.
Professionally, she hopes to do her part to curb the obesity epidemic by evaluating and influencing public health policy and working to eliminate health disparities that fuel this chronic health problem. “My goal is to effect change at the broadest level,” says Rossen.
Senior Service Fellow, National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention