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New Podcast - Travis Interviews Kenyan Obesity Researcher Vincent Onywera

Tuesday, July 27, 2010 Posted by Travis Saunders

Vincent Onywera

When you think of Kenya, what comes to mind?  For most people, it probably has something to do with skinny, amazingly fast distance runners.  I'm almost positive that for most people childhood obesity is not an image that is naturally associated with Kenya, or with Africa in general.  And yet, many developing nations like Kenya are currently undergoing societal transitions involving increased urbanization, reductions in physical activity, and increased consumption of fast food, all of which can result in increased risk of both obesity and chronic disease risk, especially in children.  Since these same developing nations often still suffer from relatively high rates of infectious disease, they suffer from what is called the "dual burden" of both chronic and infectious disease (in contrast, very under-developed countries experience mostly infectious disease, while developing nations have predominantly chronic diseases).

This dual burden can be a crippling blow to the public health, not to mention economies, of developing nations.  At the same time, studying these transitions as they happen can help us develop a better understanding of the obesity epidemic in general, and hopefully devise strategies to prevent it's advance into developing countries.  This is where Dr Vincent Onywera comes in. 

Vincent is an obesity and physical activity researcher at Kenyatta University in Nairobi, Kenya, as well as the Deputy Director of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Athletics Academy.  I had the good fortune to work with him last summer, and recorded today's podcast a few weeks before he returned home.  Vincent is one of the most fascinating people I've ever met, and we chat about the obesity epidemic, the reasons why obesity is seen as something to aspire to by many Kenyans, and some of the projects he is currently involved with. Enjoy the podcast! (email subscribers can listen to the podcast by visiting our website -

We'd love to hear your thoughts on this or any of our previous podcasts, and if you enjoy them, be sure to subscribe via itunes to have future episodes delivered straight to your computer. 


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1 Response to "New Podcast - Travis Interviews Kenyan Obesity Researcher Vincent Onywera"

  1. zpmorgan Said,

    This is a really nice interview & subject, and what he says is really incredible. I hope he's exaggerating. Maybe you could have challenged him more on the sociological stuff. (data?)

    Posted on August 1, 2010 at 2:33 AM


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We are PhD students in the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. Our research focuses on the relationships between obesity, physical activity, and health risk. This blog is our attempt to consider the many "cures" for obesity that we read about on a daily basis. Enjoy.


The opinions expressed here belong only to Peter and Travis and do not reflect the views of any organization. Any medical discussion on this page is intended to be of a general nature only. This page is not designed to give specific medical advice. If you have a medical problem you should consult your own physician for advice specific to your own situation.

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