Readers share their thoughts


Childhood obesity’s global impact

As an obesity researcher and first-generation immigrant from China, I was so pleased to read your cover story about Dr. Youfa Wang’s research on childhood obesity in China [“Fast Food Nations,” Summer 2014]. This is a significant problem in the most populous country in the world, but the media coverage is still not sufficient. Fortunately, your magazine’s in-depth report helps the community to be aware of the excellent studies conducted by a world-famous researcher at your institution. Really impressive job!

Qi (Harry) Zhang, PhD
Norfolk, Va.

The writer is associate professor in the School of Community and Environmental Health at Old Dominion University.

I am a childhood obesity researcher and was very impressed by your recent cover story regarding Youfa Wang’s work on the childhood obesity epidemic in the past decade. The story covers a series of Dr. Wang’s completed and ongoing work and offers diverse perspectives, especially on fighting childhood obesity in China. We need indefatigable and enthusiastic commitments to find solutions to reducing the obesity burden. Your resourceful information will greatly inform my own insights for better guiding future obesity research.

Liang Wang, MD, DrPH, MPH
Johnson City, Tenn.

The writer is assistant professor in the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, College of Public Health, East Tennessee State University.

In 2001, I adopted a little girl from China who is now 16 and a senior at Clarence High School. When we were in China, we saw the culture shift to fast food restaurants in some of the larger cities like Beijing, where there were over 60 McDonalds at the time. Many of the people we met in China were concerned how that might impact health. I enjoyed the article in At Buffalo.

Mary Anne Cappellino
Clarence Center, N.Y.

The writer is president of Creatively Fit LLC and author of a children’s motivational book series focusing on healthy lifestyles.

When homelessness hits home

As a graduate student, I was writing a paper on homelessness on university campuses when the story of Ken Ilgunas’ experiment living in a van popped up in the national media [“Several Lives to Live,” Spring 2014].

In my research, I found that 4 percent of UB students had been homeless for two or more weeks during the last year (2009) and that the economic downturn had left a funding gap even among those who had scholarships. Parents had lost jobs or the burst real estate bubble had left them without collateral for sufficient loans to cover housing. Yet most schools are not willing to help students find alternative housing solutions.

Learning to become self-sufficient is part of the process of education, and I think Ilgunas’ book, “Walden on Wheels,” is an important read.

Deborah A. Naybor (PhD ’13, MA ’10)
Angola, N.Y.

Cover to cover

Although I don’t like change in general, I was pleasantly surprised by the redesign of At Buffalo. Not only is it more visually appealing, but I’ve read nearly every word of the last two issues rather than flipping through it as I used to do. Well done!

Fran Young (BA ’69)
Boones Mill, Va.

Ronnie James Dio, the early years

I thought readers and fans might get a kick out of seeing Ronnie James Padavona, as he was known in 1960, before he became Ronnie James Dio [Mixed Media Tweetable, Summer 2014]. If you could get a shot of him as the Black Sabbath frontman and compare the two pictures, it would be difficult to see RJD in the younger ROTC cadet. The old picture was taken by me on the eighth floor of Tower Dorm [now Kimball Hall] in 1960.

Donald C. Spinelli (MA ’66, BA ’64)
West Bloomfield, Mich.

The writer is retired professor and chair of classical and modern languages, literatures and cultures at Wayne State University.

From the Editor’s Desk

New digs for Alumni Office

After nine years of working elbow-to-elbow in the Center for Tomorrow on the North Campus, the Office of Alumni Engagement (previously Office of Alumni Relations) has moved to historic Harriman Hall on the South Campus, with room to grow. Harriman Hall is easily accessible for alumni to visit, and includes ample meeting and event space. Stop in and say hi!

We want to hear from you!

Send letters and comments to Editor with the subject heading “Letters.” Or mail to Editor, At Buffalo, 330 Crofts Hall, Buffalo, N.Y. 14260. Letters are subject to editing for length and clarity. Please include a daytime phone number for verification.