Skip redundant pieces
KU Home  :  KU News

KU News Release

August 30, 2005
Contact: Kim Johnson, Center for Physical Activity and Weight Management, (785) 864-0797; and Nancy Besa, (816) 674-4775

KU running great Billy Mills to highlight KU's 2005 obesity conference

LAWRENCE - University of Kansas alumnus and former Olympic gold medalist Billy Mills will highlight the university's seventh annual Conference on the Prevention and Treatment of Overweight and Obese Individuals.

The conference is scheduled for Sept. 8-10 at the Marriott Hotel, 200 West 12th Street, in downtown Kansas City, Mo. KU's Center for Physical Activity and Weight Management, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the United Methodist Health Ministry Fund will sponsor the conference, which draws healthcare professionals and community activists from throughout the Midwest.

The focus of this year's conference is "Children, Women, Minorities, Community Wide Approaches and the Metabolic Syndrome," said Joe Donnelly, KU professor and director of the Center for Physical Activity and Weight Management.
" We are pleased to have Billy Mills address our conference, along with several nationally known experts and researchers on obesity and weight management," Donnelly said. "Obesity continues to be a national epidemic among children and minorities."

Mills will speak about obesity, Native Americans and self-empowerment at 8 a.m., Sept. 10. Mills, a member of the Lakota Sioux tribe, is a 1962 graduate of KU, a 1993 recipient of the KU Award of Distinguished Service and a 2002 winner of the Alumni Distinguished Service Award from KU's School of Education. He won the gold medal in the 10,000-meter run in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics - the only American runner to do so to date.

Mills lives in California with his wife, Patricia, and two daughters. He is president of Billy Mills Enterprises, an insurance agency and consulting firm. He also is national spokesman for Christian Relief Services and has helped raise more than $300 million in in-kind donations and cash over the past 11 years. Running Strong for American Indian Youth is one part of the organization that supports Native American youth programs.

In 2000, Mills was selected Sports Illustrated magazine's top athlete of the century for the state of South Dakota. Runner's World magazine selected the 10,000-meter run in the 1964 Olympics as one of the top 10 Olympic track races of the century.

Other notable speakers at the conference include:

--Deputy Surgeon General Kenneth P. Moritsugu will lead off the conference at noon, Sept. 8, with a presentation on child, adolescent and women's issues with weight management.

--David Ludwig, director of the obesity program at Children's Hospital in Boston, will speak about "The Low Glycemic Diet: A Perfect Compromise Between Low Fat and Low Carb," at 5:30 p.m., Sept. 8.

--Patricia Britten, nutritionist with the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, U.S. Department of Agriculture, will speak about the new dietary guidelines for consumers through "MyPyramid" at 12:30 p.m., Sept. 9.

--Bill Potts-Datema, director of Partnerships for Children's Health at Harvard University's School of Public Health, will address school wellness policies and the relationships to academic performance at 1:30 p.m., Sept. 9.

--Cindy Waters, manager of the Community Health Intervention Program and Arthritis Program of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, will speak on "Taking Steps Together - Kansas," at 3:30 p.m., Sept. 9.

--Joan L. Pritchard, assistant superintendent of the Goddard (Kan.) Public Schools, will discuss here school's efforts in the battle against obesity at 3:40 p.m., Sept. 9.

--Dale Brigham, health educator, and Donna Mehrle, program coordinator, both of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services Health Promotion Unit, will discuss Missouri's state obesity plan and community health intervention efforts for Missouri residents at 4 p.m., Sept. 9

The complete schedule and list of speakers is available on the conference web site, The event is open to the public and the media. Health-care professionals, educators, youth workers and community activists may register for the conference by contacting Kim Johnson at (785) 864-0797 or

Media should RSVP to Nancy Besa at (816) 674-4775 or


The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus. | (785) 864-3256 | 1314 Jayhawk Blvd., Lawrence, KS 66045