Online Program

Lifestyle Factors and Public Health

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 12:50 p.m. - 1:10 p.m.

Samuel Soret, PhD, MPH, School of Public Health, Center for Community Resilience, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA
As infectious diseases have been brought under control in the United States, the biggest challenges faced today by public health are chronic diseases rooted in the behavioral choices of individuals. Lifestyle choices and habits including factors such as smoking, diet and activity patterns, alcohol, illicit use of drugs, firearms, and sexual behavior, account for approximately half of all deaths in the United States. Lifestyle factors are of particular significance to public health because the associated mortality and morbidity is preventable. Unfortunately, advances in lifestyle research, health promotion and education, and regulation alone are not enough. Individual behavior is complex; it takes place within a specific milieu of forces in the social, cultural, and physical environments, so improving population health requires action on multiple determinants. In addition, the emergence of epigenetics is challenging our traditional understanding of health determinants as insulated compartments. Thus, public health scientists are now beginning to explore the potential interplay between genes, lifestyle factors, environmental hazards, and community- and individual-level stressors.

While examination of these factors in an integrated fashion allows for the exploration of the multilevel interplay and interaction amongst them, it also signifies the need for an innovative framework of inquiry to prevent disease and enhance quality of life. A growing body of evidence suggests the vulnerability to environmental changes of epigenetic mechanisms as well as the impact of lifestyle on the epigenetic code. In this section we will explore lifestyle-epigenome interactions that have the potential to impact or modulate epigenetic patterns.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Describe lifestyle-epigenome interactions that have the potential to impact or modulate epigenetic patterns.

Keyword(s): Behavioral Research, Chronic Diseases

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a PI in ongoing research projects on environmental health with a focus on environmental determinants. I have wide expertise in medical geography. I am currently an Associate Professor of Environmental Health at the Loma Linda University School of Public Health and an Associate Dean for Public Health Practice
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.