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International Health

Hong Xue, PhD, MS
PhD candidate, Human Nutrition

Dr. Hong Xue is one of the doctoral students integrally involved in the new Global Childhood Obesity Center. He has been working on several of the Center's projects, along with his adviser, Associate Professor Youfa Wang. He and another doctoral student in the Department, Hsin-jen Chen, are also working on the US-based, NIH-funded “Causes and Interventions for Childhood Obesity: Innovative Systems Analysis.” Hong will soon start working on the Center’s large China project that analyzes the social, economic, environmental and policy factors on children's eating, physical activity, and adiposity outcomes.

Hong XueHong received his PhD in Economics from Virginia Tech in 2010 before joining the PhD program in the Department. His IH dissertation research explores the impacts of the changes in food systems—such as macro-agricultural policies, development of food distribution channels, and growth of fast food chains—on childhood obesity in China over the past two decades. This research uses both traditional statistical methods and systems models. His doctoral work will also compare these findings from China with those in the United States.

Some of his preliminary data from his research suggest that peers influence children’s BMI and eating habits. Or in other words, obesity may be “contagious” among children in the same social network. He’s looking forward to the tremendous opportunities and challenges the new Center will present, and to finding better ways of fighting the global obesity epidemic.

--Brandon Howard, December 2011