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REF NO.: 368

SUBJECT: Rothermere offers freedom to learn
DATE: July 28, 2005

Newfoundland and Labrador needs to develop concrete strategies to help alleviate this province’s battle with the bulge, says this year’s recipient of one of Memorial University’s most prestigious graduate awards. Donna Fagan was awarded the Rothermere Fellowship in late May. She says obesity is a major issue here in this province and she plans to examine the issue in depth.

“Obesity is a serious health issue with co-morbidities and consequences impacting on individuals, families and the health care system of the province,” said Ms. Fagan, who is originally from St. John’sand completed a M. Sc. from Memorial’s faculty of medicine in community health in 2001. She also obtained a B.Voc. Ed. in 1994.

Her interest in the topic comes on the heels of a new report, released earlier this month, which found that one in four Canadian adults is considered obese. The Canadian Community Health Survey indicated that 23 per cent of all adults are obese. The numbers in this province, though, were even more staggering – 33 per cent of men and 35 per cent of women are considered too fat.

Ms. Fagan said she plans to study obesity issues and the management of obesity in rural areas this fall when she begins her studies at a university in the United Kingdom.

Memorial’s Rothermere Foundation fellowships include an annual grant of approximately $15,500, plus college fees. It was established to aid and encourage students who obtained their first degree at Memorial to further their education in the UK.

Ms. Fagan, who has previously worked as a project manager for the provincial government, hopes to conduct her PhD research over the next three years. Ms. Fagan said she has always had an interest in health-care issues and proper nutrition. In the past, she has also worked as a food administration program instructor and as a dietetic consultant and clinical dietitian. Most recently she was an assistant professor in the Department of Human Nutrition at St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia where she obtained a B. Sc. (Nutrition).

Ms. Fagan said the Rothermere Fellowship will allow her to conduct field work and research she otherwise wouldn’t have been to avail of. “I have continually sought to obtain further academic degrees while working full-time and handling family responsibilities,” she said. “For those who love to study, they will recognize the pure joy this fellowship provides.”

Editors note: A photo of Donna Fagan can be viewed at www.mun.ca/univrel/news_photos.php.

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