Obesity: Understanding, Prevention, and Management

  • Open Enrollment Online Course

Learn about obesity from the following three perspectives: medical, behavioral, and anthropological. Information from experts will be combined with viewpoints from lay people to obtain a more holistic understanding of obesity.

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    Location Online

Course Details

The course will be divided into units, with each unit covering a different overarching theme about obesity.

  • Unit 1 serves as an introduction to the obesity epidemic, the body mass index, and basic dieting.
  • Unit 2 explores the epidemiology of obesity, including obesity’s social, environmental, and demographic risk factors.
  • In Unit 3, we will learn about how obesity may result from a great diversity of causes.
  • The physiology of obesity is discussed in Unit 4, while Unit 5 examines obesity’s various social, psychological, and medical complications.
  • Unit 6 offers information regarding how healthcare professionals may evaluate patients with obesity in the clinical setting and Unit 7 discusses treatments for obesity.
  • How obesity impacts self-esteem and body image is explored in Unit 8.
  • Unit 9 will introduce you to behavior-based therapies for obesity.
  • Diet and physical activity plans for weight loss and management are discussed in Unit 10, while Unit 11 examines the surgical and pharmaceutical treatments for obesity.
  • The obesity industry is described in Unit 12, and lastly in Unit 13 we will conclude by discussing obesity risk factors and methods to prevent childhood obesity. 

Course requirements include viewing and listening to each lecture and completing the quizzes and journal assignments corresponding to each unit.

about the experts

James A. Levine

James A. Levine, professor of medicine at Mayo Clinic and a world-renowned leader in obesity research and child advocacy, has been named co-director of the Mayo Clinic/Arizona State University Obesity Solutions Initiative.

Levine has been appointed a tenured professor in ASU’s School of the Science of Health Care Delivery, as well as in the School of Life Sciences and the School of Biological and Health Engineering. He also will continue as a professor at Mayo Clinic.

Levine is an international expert on obesity. The author of the non-fiction work Move A Little Lose A Lot, he has published more than 150 articles on building effective solutions to obesity for adults and children. His research has focused on physiological, technological and environmental approaches to help people become more active, decrease cardiovascular risk and become healthier.

Levine received a BS degree from the Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine in London, and PhD and MD degrees from the Royal Free Hospital. He did postgraduate internships at the Royal Free Hospital (in medicine), Wellhouse Trust (in surgery) and Mayo Graduate School of Medicine (in internal medicine), where he also was a fellow in endocrinology.


Alexandra Brewis Slade

As director of operations for Obesity Solutions, Brewis Slade is responsible for an ambitious integrated program combining research, testing, and outreach to reduce obesity risk in Arizona and beyond.

As a social scientist trained in anthropology, human biology, and demography, Brewis Slade’s own research is concerned with how culture shapes human biology. Over the last two decades she has lead field studies focused on the social dimensions of obesity in many parts of the world including Pacific Islands, Mexico, and rural and urban U.S. Her recent publications include the book Obesity: Cultural and biocultural perspectives.

Brewis Slade has a PhD in anthropology from University of Arizona and was a postdoctoral fellow in the population studies and training center at Brown University. Brewis Slade currently teaches in ASU’s Anthropology and Global Health programs. In 2013, she was inaugurated as an ASU President’s Professor in recognition of her career achievements as an educator-scholar.


Elizabeth D. (Betty) Phillips

Phillips received her bachelor's degree from the University of Rochester in 1965 and her PhD degree in experimental psychology from the University of Texas at Austin in 1969. She has contributed over 75 chapters and articles to the scientific literature, co-authored three editions of an introductory psychology textbook, and edited two books on the psychology of eating. She teaches the psychology of eating regularly at Arizona State University where she is a University Professor. Her research concerns how we learn to like and dislike foods, how we can use learning principles to change our eating habits, and how cognitive, perceptual and other psychological factors influence our eating behavior.



This is an online open enrollment course. After registering, you can access the online course by clicking the 'My CE' tab and then following the 'Blackboard 1.0' link to the right of the course title under 'Courses I'm registered for'.

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