September 02, 2016

Researcher to discuss childhood obesity

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Ah, peer pressure. So often parents and authorities lament its effects on young people. What if peer pressure could be a tool for positive behavior -- like, for example, healthy eating? 

Jebaraj Asirvatham, assistant professor of agribusiness economics at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, is researching the role of peer influence on childhood obesity. He is venturing into new territory with his multi-faceted approach: studying the effects of peer pressure on young school-age children, and taking into account such factors as the commercial food environment near the children’s schools as well as observable differences in race, gender and neighborhood. 

Asirvatham will discuss his soon-to-be-published research as the first speaker in the Vandeveer Chair Speaker Series for the fall 2016 semester. He’ll discuss, “Do peers affect childhood obesity?” at 3 p.m. on Sept. 9 in Faner Hall, Room 4135. 

The Department of Economics hosts the Vandeveer Chair Speaker Series, a free series of lectures on various topics pertaining to economics. The series organizers seek to include several topics of interest to a general audience, including the lecture Asirvatham will present. 

Here is the schedule of other speakers and topics. All events are at 3 p.m. in Faner Hall, Room 4135, except for the Vandeveer Chair Public Lecture, for which the time and place are separately noted. 

Sept. 16, SIU economics faculty, discussion of current research

Sept. 23, Limor Golan from Washington University at St. Louis, “What Accounts for the Racial Gap in Time Allocation and Intergenerational Transmission of Human Capital?”

Sept. 29, 5 p.m. in the John C. Guyon Auditorium in Morris Library, Tod Sandler from the University of Texas at Dallas, “What Has Economic Analysis Taught About Terrorism?”

Oct. 14, Jamin Speer from the University of Memphis, “Are Changes of Major Major Changes? The Roles of Grades, Gender and Preferences in College Major Switching.”

Oct. 21, Scott Gilbert, SIU, “Profit and Industrial Organization: A Financial Perspective.”

Oct. 28, Chao Gu from the University of Missouri at Columbia, “The Effects of Monetary Policy (and Other) Announcements.”