UCSF exposome conference

Credit: iStock/fotokostic

The exposome, defined as all the exposures an individual has in their lifetime, is attracting medical and scientific interest in a new symposium, “The Exposome and Metabolic Health,” on Friday Sept. 21 at UCSF.

Join the discussion

UC experts will answer your questions about how environment, diet and social experiences affect human health during a Facebook Live event Friday, Sept. 21 from 12:30 p.m. to 1 p.m.

Watch and participate: https://www.facebook.com/universityofcalifornia/videos/1825644720864643/


Pop quiz: What do air pollution, pesticides, processed foods and chronic stress all have in common?

Answer: They are contributing factors to the exponential rise in obesity and related chronic diseases, such as Type 2 diabetes, that have become the leading health crises of the 21st century.

UC health experts will host a free, livestreamed symposium on Sept. 21 to talk about how our social, psychological and physical environments are creating metabolic disease. The research is part of a burgeoning new field that studies the exposome, defined as all the exposures an individual has in their lifetime. Scientists have begun assessing how even before birth, people are exposed to toxins in their environment, diet and social experiences.

These silent exposures seep under the skin and create disease and obesity while affecting our lifespan.

“We must raise awareness of how our air, our food and our social environments are impacting our health in dramatic ways, affecting us now and affecting the next generations,” said UCSF psychiatry professor Elissa Epel, Ph.D. “This symposium will cover critical new science and policy actions that are of interest to all, from students to scientists to our grandparents."

“Science shows that we are all exposed to multiple industrial chemicals, many of which are a concern for metabolic diseases," added Tracey Woodruff, Ph.D., MPH, director of the event co-sponsor UCSF Environmental Health Initiative. "Pregnant women, children, communities of color and low-income communities can be more impacted by these exposures increasing the urgency to take actions to prevent harmful exposures.” 

Exposome symposium

Exposome symposium flier
Click to expand for more information on the symposium.
Credit: UCSF

The symposium, “The Exposome and Metabolic Health,” is open to the public. It is sponsored by the Consortium for Obesity, Assessment, Study and Treatment; the Sugar, Stress, Environment and Weigh Initiative; the UCSF Nutrition Obesity Research Center; and the UCSF Environmental Health Initiative.

A collection of accomplished speakers and panelists will discuss the far-reaching (yet often invisible) impact of social stress and environmental air and food toxins on obesity:

In addition, a panel of experts led by Laura Schmidt, Ph.D. (UCSF) will explore relevant policy implications and actions. Panelists will include Lauren Zeise, Ph.D, (California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment), Jeanne Rizzo, RN (Breast Cancer Prevention Partners), and Meg Schwarzman, M.D., MPH (UC Berkeley).