May 19, 2017 by Praneeth Meka
Drexel University will officially open the Weight, Eating and Lifestyle Science Center July 1.
By including services for obesity and various eating disorders, the WELL Center will strive to create a healthier world by reducing some of the most prevalent problems facing the United States today.
An average of 30 million people in the United States suffer from a medically diagnosable eating disorder at some point in their lives. Some well-known and prevalent eating disorders include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder.
Additionally, due to many cases not being reported, many more people could possibly be affected by eating disorders or low self-esteem from distorted body image.
Research projects concerning eating disorders are funded less often than other research projects, but Drexel hopes to initiate new and innovative research into eating disorders with the WELL Center.
Even though physical activity rates have been on the rise since the late ’90s, obesity rates have still increased over the years. The rate of obesity in 1997 was 19.4 percent. In 2015, it was 30.4 percent.
Michael Lowe, a psychology professor at Drexel, is doing a biobehavioral study of eating and weight. Lowe’s research aims to find interventions for obesity and causes for eating disorders. Research such as Lowe’s will be similar to the research Drexel hopes to accomplish at the WELL Center.
The WELL Center director will be Evan Forman and Meghan Butryn will be the director of research.
Forman is a professor in the department of psychology at Drexel and some of his research interests are Clinical Psychology and Neurocognition of eating and health related behavioral change due to problems such as obesity and eating disorders. Professor Forman has done several clinical internships at several universities including both Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania.
Meghan Butryn is also a professor in the department of psychology at Drexel. Her research interests focus more on prevention and therapy for conditions such as obesity and eating disorders.
Drexel plans on creating a clinic imbedded into the WELL Center; this clinic will open in 2018 and will provide treatment for the obesity and eating disorders based on provable evidence.
The WELL Center will strive not only to be a place for research and treatment for eating disorders, but also to serve as a location for training healthcare professionals, postdoctoral fellows and current Drexel students (both on the graduate level and the undergraduate level).