New Course Primes Undergraduates on Diabetes, Obesity Epidemics

June 21, 2010

In fall 2010, Penn State undergraduate students can gain a better understanding of the nation’s diabetes and obesity epidemics. In Strategies for Addressing the Obesity & Diabetes Epidemics, students will learn what role they can play in minimizing the effects of these diseases. The course is being offered through the Department of Biobehavioral Health in the College of Health and Human Development in collaboration with the Penn State Institute for Diabetes and Obesity (PSIDO).

The course aims to show students how they can change their own at-risk behaviors and instill in them the confidence to be agents for societal change. The course content was designed by a team that included Dr. Barbara Rolls, Distinguished Professor of Nutritional Sciences; Dr. Jan Ulbrecht, professor of biobehavioral health and diabetologist; Dr. Robert Gabbay, director of the Penn State Institute for Diabetes and Obesity; and Jennifer DiNallo, graduate student in the Department of Kinesiology.

According to Ulbrecht, the goal of this new offering is to “stress to the Penn State undergraduate population that this is a problem that impacts all citizens and that can only be resolved if addressed by each member of society, whether in the health care field, engineering, arts, etc.”

The course content will cover the challenges and consequences of the obesity epidemic; factors that can lead to or prevent obesity/diabetes; and treatment, management, and interventions for each disease.

The course was offered for the first time during spring 2010 (BBH 297A), and is under review by the Faculty Senate as a permanent course offering that would fulfill General Education requirements in Health and Physical Activity.


Editors: Jan Ulbrecht can be reached at For additional information, please contact the College of Health and Human Development Office of College Relations at 814-865-3831 or