MAY 19, 2005 | A nutritionist at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) was recently named a distinguished graduate of the animal science program in the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.
Reza Hakkak, Ph.D., professor and chair, Department of Dietetics and Nutrition in the UAMS College of Health Related Professions and professor in the UAMS College of Public Health and an associate professor in the UAMS College of Medicine was honored by the college during an April awards and scholarship event at the UA in Fayetteville. Hakkak earned his doctorate in animal nutrition at the UA in 1986 and has been on the UAMS faculty since 1990.
“I am honored to have been recognized by this program and the University of Arkansas,” Hakkak said. “My experience at the university had a real impact on my research career and my interest nutrition science.
“I’m excited for students that follow and become interested in nutrition science because I think there is a great need for nutritionists now as we are dealing with several chronic diseases related to poor nutrition habits.”
His work concentrates on the areas of basic nutrition science research and nutrition education. His research has focused on the influence of nutrition on cancer prevention, the influence of obesity on cancer promotion, and the effects of differing diets and nutrition on chemical carcinogenesis.
Hakkak is also a scientist at the Arkansas Children’s Hospital Research Institute (ACHRI).
Hakkak recently voiced concerns about the dietary habits of Americans. Americans are shortening their own life expectancies, making themselves vulnerable to disease, and worse, teaching their children poor health habits – all by eating large portions of unhealthy foods and limiting their daily activities.
“We have to pay attention to the rate of obesity in our society,” Hakkak said, “since it is linked with several diseases, including high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes.”
Hakkak recently received a $250,000 grant from the Susan G. Komen Cancer Foundation through ACHRI to continue his research on obesity and breast cancer. When comparing data from obese and lean rats, he found that a carcinogen called DMBA found in cigarette smoke, car exhaust and some cooked foods causes mammary tumors to appear more than two times as often in obese rats compared to lean rats. He said it isn’t a far stretch to assume that the same thing is happening in overweight women.
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UAMS News Release, “UAMS Professor Says Americans Literally ‘Super-sizing Themselves to Death’”: http://www.uams.edu/update/absolutenm/templates/news_release_jerri.asp?articleid=2846&zoneid=33
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