Jennifer Kuk, Professor

York University Faculty of Health Professor, Jennifer Kuk

“You do the research then you find out it’s not actually as simple as you thought and I think that that’s the greatest thing about research. All of us think a certain way and are we too proud to see that maybe the truth isn’t what we think? When you look at the roads less travelled, sometimes there are very interesting findings and I think that part of the reason why we have so much obesity stigma and bias and prejudice is because everyone just believes this; it’s simple – you eat too much, you don’t exercise enough and so therefore, you’re fat.

But the more I do research, I see that the world is changing. And I don’t think that it’s as simple as you ate too much and you just didn’t have enough willpower to exercise. I think that there’s a lot more in play in terms of the medications that we take, the environmental pollutants, that we are all exposed to everyday, and our genetic susceptibility in the genes that were passed on to us preferentially because of our parents and their obesity status when they had us. And so I think that having this concept, that everyone can attain, you know, what we call a normal weight and that’s the healthiest weight for you, might be an oversimplification.

I get messages from people who’ve been struggling with weight all their life, and hearing the “thank you” for standing up for the people with no voice. I think that’s really important.

It’s sad because, I mean, I’m a lean person myself. People expect, because my research says that obesity might not be as bad as you think, that I have obesity myself, and they are often shocked to see I’m a lean individual. Because I am lean, I can say this, and someone who is larger cannot.

I think that’s really unfortunate and obesity is not as simple as what people think.”

Jennifer L. Kuk, PhD
Associate Professor, School of Kinesiology and Health Science
Faculty of Health

Photo credit: davidgoldmanphoto.com

Current Research
Characterizing obesity and related health risks (cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes) and examining the influence of diet, physical activity using both clinical interventions and epidemiological approaches.

 

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