BARRY M. POPKIN is the director of the University of North Carolina Interdisciplinary Obesity Center and a professor of global nutrition. He has studied economics and nutrition for three decades, and his research has spanned six continents. He has an active U.S. program in understanding dietary behavior with a focus on eating patterns, trends and socio-demographic determinants. This includes involvement in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, a study of environmental determinants of physical activity and inactivity patterns and obesity among 20,000 U.S. adolescents examined in 1995, 1996 and 2001. His work also includes detailed longitudinal studies that he directs in China and Russia, and involvement with longitudinal studies in the Philippines, as well as related work in Brazil and several other countries.
Popkin, one the world’s leading experts on the obesity crisis, is the author of The World Is Fat (Avery/Penguin 2008) in which he argues that the fattening of the human race is not simply about gluttony, but it is instead the result of an unprecedented collision of technology, globalization, government policies, and food industry practices with human biology. He shows how the clash between our biology created over tens of thousands of years and modern technology, in particular over the last 20-25 years, has transformed the way we eat, drink and move and the way food is marketed and controlled.