Georgia Southern University

Georgia Southern University Professors Appear on PBS

4-3 Georgia Southern professors appear on PBSGeorgia Southern University’s Rural Health Research Institute (RHRI) has been featured in a nationally broadcast television appearance on PBS. Jacob Warren, Ph.D., and Bryant Smalley, Ph.D., co-executive directors of the RHRI, appeared in a segment this week on the talk show “Tavis Smiley.”

The professors were invited to Los Angeles to discuss childhood obesity and their new book Always the Fat Kid: The Truth About the Enduring Effects of Childhood Obesity, which was released last week and is available in bookstores nationwide. “We were very excited to get the invitation to discuss this issue with a national audience,” said Smalley. “The time for action is now, and getting people engaged in a conversation about childhood obesity is the crucial first step in turning the tide.” 

The book has been described as a “clarion call” for parents and society regarding the long-term effects of childhood obesity and is garnering international attention through features on and an upcoming feature in The London Times. In addition to discussing how childhood obesity leads to chronic and long-lasting health problems such as heart disease and diabetes (which have shortened children’s life expectancies to the point they can no longer expect to have longer lives than their parents), Warren and Smalley also focus on the emerging evidence of how being an overweight child leads to “fat kid syndrome” – a collection of physical, psychological and social consequences of obesity that haunt overweight children for life. For instance, Warren and Smalley say overweight children are much more likely to be depressed adults, face legal workplace discrimination and are even less likely to end up getting married. 

“In writing the book, we drew upon decades of medical, psychological and social research, as well as bringing in our own lived experiences as formerly overweight children,” said Warren. “Our goal is to empower parents, community members, teachers and members of the healthcare workforce who are trying to make sense of this growing threat.”

The episode with Warren and Smalley will air throughout the week on PBS and PBS Knowledge (air dates and times vary by market) and is available on the show’s website at

Georgia Southern University, a Carnegie Doctoral/Research University founded in 1906, offers more than 120 degree programs serving more than 20,500 students. Through eight colleges, the University offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs built on more than a century of academic achievement.  Georgia Southern is recognized for its student-centered approach to education. Visit:

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