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About Dr. Weinsier

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Dr. Weinsier received medical training at the University of Florida in 1968 and completed his residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Virginia in 1970. He received a doctorate degree in public health and nutrition from Harvard University in 1973. From 1988 to 1999, he served as Chair of the UAB Department of Nutrition Sciences, one of the first and largest nutrition departments located within a medical center. Under his leadership, the Department was ranked #2 in the nation in the 1993 US News & World Report survey of nutrition programs, it was designated an International Center of Excellence in Nutrition by Bristol-Myers Squibb in 1998, it was ranked #2 in NIH funding in 1998, and it was awarded one of eight NIH-Supported Clinical Nutrition Research Units in 1999.

Dr. Weinsier has been invited to serve on advisory panels for a number of federal organizations, including the U.S. Congress, Federal Trade Commission, National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine, Health Resources and Services Administration, US Department of Agriculture (USDA), and National Institutes of Health (NIH). He was a long-standing member of the NIH National Task Force for the Prevention and Treatment of Obesity. In 1975, he established the EatRight Weight Control Program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, one of the nation’s longest running programs. In 1984 he chaired a national committee which published the first guidelines for professional weight control programs, guidelines which were adopted by the American Medical Association. Dr. Weinsier served on the USDA/NIH Dietary guidelines Advisory Committee to prepare the year 2000 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

As a clinician, Dr. Weinsier has been recognized as among the Best Doctors in America, in 1994, 1998, and again in 1999. He has been honored nationally as an outstanding medical educator, having received the 1995 Award for Excellence in Medical-Nutrition Education by the American Society for Clinical Nutrition. He has also authored two nutrition texts for health professionals, Fundamentals of Clinical Nutrition and Handbook of Clinical Nutrition, the latter of which has sold over 40,000 copies.

Handbook of Clinical Nutrition

Dr. Weinsier’s research focuses on the role of metabolism in the causation of obesity. He demonstrated that resting metabolic rates were similar in obesity-prone and obesity-resistant women. The results suggest that resting metabolic rate is not lower in obesity-prone persons and does not explain their weight-gain tendency. Further, the fact that resting metabolic rates of obesity-prone women remain appropriate for their body size, before and after weight loss, refutes the suggestion that a metabolic “set-point” predisposes persons to a certain body weight. By contrast, he showed that daily physical activity contributes significantly to the different weight-gain patterns of the obesity-prone vs. obesity-resistant women. Dr. Weinsier’s studies have also demonstrated that African-American women, as a group, have significantly greater energy efficiency and lower calorie requirements than Caucasian women. The contribution of these factors and inadequate physical activity may contribute importantly to the greater weight-gain tendency of this population.

Education

MD, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
MPH, Harvard University, Boston, MA
DrPH (Nutrition), Harvard University, Boston, MA


Research Interest

  • The role of abnormalities of energy metabolism and physical inactivity in the causation of obesity.
     
  • Diet in the treatment of obesity and prevention of obesity-related illness.
     
  • Dr. Weinsier's research focused on the role of metabolism in the causation of obesity using the post-obese model. Among weight-reduced, post-obese pre- and post-menopausal women he has demonstrated the following:
    1. Abnormally low levels of insulin sensitivity, physical fitness, and physical activity found in the obese state are reversible with diet-induced weight loss. Relative to their body mass, resting metabolic rate and fuel utilization are normal, both before and after weight loss.
       
    2. There appear to be no inherent metabolic/physiologic differences between obesity-prone (post-obese) and obese-resistant (never-obese) women, in terms of insulin sensitivity, physical fitness, resting metabolic rate, or fuel utilization.
       
    3. Having less muscle strength and lower free-living physical activity appear to be strong independent predictors of long-term weight gain in post-obese and never-obese subjects.
       
    4. Compared to Caucasian women, African-American women demonstrate inherent metabolic differences, including lower sleeping and resting energy expenditure (apparently due to less metabolically active organ mass), and lower energy cost of and aerobic capacity for exercise. The greater energy efficiency of the African-American women, which persists during sleep, at rest, and during exercise, appears to contribute to their greater long-term weight-gain tendency.
       

Honors and Research

  • Alpha Omega Alpha, Honor Medical Society, 1968
     
  • USPHS Public Health Traineeship Award, 1970
     
  • Best Freshman Medical School Professor, UAB, 1981
     
  • Taft Memorial Best Medical Basic Sciences Professor Award, UAB 1983
     
  • Best Medical Basic Sciences Professor Award, UAB 1987
     
  • Clintec Award for Excellence in Science of Nutrition, American College of Nutrition 1988
     
  • Clintec Award for Excellence in Science of Nutrition, American College of Nutrition, 1988
     
  • Best Doctors in America, listed in 1994, 1998, 1999
     
  • Nat’l Dairy Council Award for Excellence in Nutrition Education, ASCN 1995
     
  • C.E. Butterworth, Jr. Professorship in Nutrition Sciences, UAB, 1996-1999
     
  • Joseph F. Volker Award Distinguished Faculty Award, UAB SHRP, 2000
     
  • President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, UAB 2000
     
  • Jonathan E. Rhoads Honorary Research Lecturer, American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition, 2001 [UAB Media Relations News]

Research Productivity

  • Over 150 refereed journal articles
     
  • 16 books/book chapters
     
  • Collaborated with almost 300 co-authors
     
  • Current funding of over $6.5 million, over $12 million total
     
     

Fog

The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

-- Carl Sandburg