OQ: Researcher touts a new way to think about health

Image of a broken scale with hearts at the weight denominations

Society fixates on weight as the main measure of fitness, despite the fact that eating habits, exercise and sleep are all better predictors of health.

So says Nichole Kelly, Evergreen Professor in the College of Education, whose research on weight stigma and chronic disease risk is featured in the winter edition of Oregon Quarterly, available now.

Kelly has authored or coauthored several studies on issues associated with weight bias — the prevailing belief that a thin body is good and healthy while a large body is bad and unhealthy — and weight-based teasing. The medical profession should focus less on the “obesity epidemic,” she says, and more on the epidemics of inactivity, loneliness and poor dietary options, all better predictors of chronic disease.

While Kelly encourages her students to reframe how they think about their health, Trygve Faste inspires his to focus on how they think about their futures.

A profile of the Tim and Mary Boyle Chair in Material Studies and Product Design captures his approach to design and how he incorporates a professional and artistic background in his teaching.

“Your first idea always seems really good. But how can you help students come up with 20 really good ideas so they have options?” Faste asks. “My strengths lie in helping students practice and become better at conceptualizing their design ideas.”

This issue of the university magazine features research on the perils of online workspaces by Maxwell Foxman, an assistant professor of media studies and game studies in the School of Journalism and Communication; and insights on the energy-saving benefits of skylights and other passive solar heating systems by Alexandra Rempel, an assistant professor in the School of Architecture & Environment, and Alan Rempel, a professor in the Department of Earth Sciences.

Also: creative writing product Nathan Harris, who earned a bachelor's degree in English at the UO in 2014, author of breakout success, “The Sweetness of Water”; Ramón Alvarado, an assistant professor of philosophy and the Presidential Initiative in Data Science; and a remembrance of 1970s basketball coach Dick Harter.

Capping off the issue — and hitting a high note — is a Duck Tale by the university’s own Raphe Beck, executive director of the alumni association, detailing his trials and tribulations in mastering the UO’s beloved fight song, “Mighty Oregon.” Win! Ducks! Win!