National Childhood Obesity Foundation®
Foundation Board of Advisors

William W. Leonard; Ph.D., M.A.

Dr. Leonard is Professor and Chair of Anthropology and Director of the Global Health Studies Program at Northwestern University. He has done extensive research on aspects of nutrition, energy expenditure, and child growth and development among contemporary and prehistoric human populations. Dr. Leonard has conducted research among indigenous agricultural populations of highland and lowland regions of South America (Bolivia, Ecuador, and Peru), and among traditional herding populations of Siberia. His research among modern subsistence-level groups has focused on how these populations adapt to their nutritional environments, and how the transition to a "modern" (Western) diet and lifestyle influences their health status (particularly obesity and chronic disease risks). In addition, Dr. Leonard has also drawn on information from human and primate ecology to develop models for examining the evolution of nutritional requirements in our hominid ancestors. These models have provided important insights into the origins of obesity and metabolic diseases among modern human societies. Dr. Leonard has published over 130 research articles and has received funding for his work from the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research and the National Geographic Society. He holds both a Ph.D. and M.A. degrees from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI, and a B.S. degree from Pennsylvania State University in State College, PA.


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