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This column seeks to inform readers about new research and events coming out of the UW’s medical community, including a study that links food price to obesity levels and a research survival-skills workshop for fellows and junior faculty members.

Price trumps proximity

A new study has found that price is a greater contributing factor to obesity rates than the location of supermarkets. Adam Drewnowski, Anju Aggarwal, and Pablo Monsivais from the UW Center for Public Health Nutrition, along with Philip M. Hurvitz and Anne Vernze Moudon from the Department of Urban Design and Planning, released a study comparing obesity rates with both supermarket proximity and food price.

The study separated supermarkets into three different price levels based on the average cost of a basket of groceries and drew data from the Seattle Obesity Study. Drewnowski and his colleagues found that only one in seven respondents reported shopping at the nearest supermarket. The researchers also found the distance between homes and supermarkets that were reported as primary food sources were not associated. However, higher prices of healthy foods were correlated with higher obesity rates.

The study looked at a variety of demographic factors, including lifestyle, proximity, and social aspects, with the same results. It concluded that increased economic access to healthy foods would be a good tool to combat obesity.

Research Survival Skills July 9-10

The UW Department of Medicine will host its annual workshop “Survival Skills for the Research Years” from July 9-10 in South Lake Union. The workshop will focus on skills important for academic success, including grant and scientific writing, oral presentations, and negotiations.

The event will be led by Dr. Lynn Schnapp, a professor in the division of pulmonary and critical care medicine, and Dr. Thomas Hawn, an associate professor of medicine with a focus in allergy and infectious disease. The event is free and will take place at the Orin Smith Auditorium (850 Republican St). It’s designed for and open to fellows and junior faculty from all departments.

Reach reporter Garrett Black at science@dailyuw.com. Twitter: @garrettjblack

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