Sugar, Stress, Environment & Weight

The Sugar, Stress, Environment & Weight (SSEW) Initiative is a collaborative group of over 25 University of California research scientists and California policy makers, who share COAST's mission: to reduce the prevalence and adverse consequences of obesity.

Their specific focus is on the role of social disadvantage, sugar, and stress on diet and obesity.

SSEW researchers are professors at 7 different University of California campuses who conduct basic to multi-level interventions that may reduce stress, junk food intake, and improve the wellbeing of the community. The SSEW Initiative began in 2008 and was most recently funded by the University of California Office of the President. Out of this support, came the annual SSEW Symposia, that examined the intersections between sugar intake, metabolic health, health policy policy, microbiome, food insecurity, food addiction and environmental impact on obesity. See below for over 20 talks from our SSEW Scientists at the symposia.

SSEW is a part of the Consortium for Obesity, Assessment, Study and Treatment (COAST), and our collaborators include the UCSF Center for Health and Community, University of California researchers, as well as SugarScience, a UC Educational center for the dissemination of information about sugar and health. 

SSEW Annual Symposium

SSEW hosted 4 consecutive years of free symposia that offered an inside look at the latest science on sugar, metabolism, obesity to the public. Click the links below to watch the talks on our YouTube channel!

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2018 symposium flyer for The Exposome and Metabolic Health

The Exposome and Metabolic Health

The 2018 Sugar, Stress, Environment & Weight Symposium explored how our social, psychological and physical environments create metabolic disease. Watch leading researchers from across the University of California discuss how chemical exposures, air and water pollution, neighborhood quality, stress, processed food production/consumption and health policy shape our future. 

View YouTube Video ➤


Flyer for 2017 Hungry for change gathering


In 2017 The UCSF Center for Obesity Assessment, Study and Treatment (COAST) & the UCLA School of Law Resnick Program for Food Policy and Law presented Hungry For Change. The event invited critical exchange between forward-thinking researchers, healthcare providers, and policy advocates who are working to address many of the most urgent public health issues of our time: food insecurity, stress, obesity, and social equity. See speakers such as Drs. Kelly Brownell, Neal Baer, and Hilary Seligman discuss the event themes.

View YouTube Video ➤


flyer for 2016 food and addiction symposium

Food & Addiction: Policy, Environment, and Individual Factors

Our 2016 symposia united health professionals and influential policy makers from the UC-wide system and beyond to explore the intersections of biology, behavior, food and addiction. Topics included how to prevent food addiction across the lifespan for individuals and communities through academically inspired activism, institutional interventions, and public policy. See all talks and opening remarks delivered by UC President Janet Napolitano at our YouTube Channel

View YouTube Video ➤


2015 Gut feeling symposium flyer

Gut Feelings: The microbiome, the mind, and metabolic health

Our 2015 symposium centered obesity, the microbiome, & the brain. We hosted an impressive lineup of microbiome researchers from UCSF, UCLA, and UCSD. Watch ted-style talks by top researchers and policy makers in the field of microbiome research on UCTV at our YouTube Channel.

View YouTube Video ➤

SSEW Faculty & Fellows

SSEW faculty represent 7 University of California campuses. They study a range of topics that fall under the categories of: clinical science, basic science, and health policy.

We also awarded fellowships, training opportunities and pilot grants to emerging scholars from across the UC's. They are listed below as SSEW Fellows. 

SSEW Fellows

Donovan Argueta, BS, UC Riverside

Jenna Cummings, PhD, UCLA

Gemma DiMatteo, UC Berkeley

Ali Hartman,

Savannah King, UCSF

Karen Lindsay, PhD, UCI

Ryan Natividad, UC Riverside

Emily Nauman, UCSF

Candice Price, PhD, UC Davis

Carly Randolph, UC Berkeley

Jerod Rasmussen, MS, UCI

Desiree Sigala, BS, UC Davis

Hoda Soltani, MS, UC Davis

Zoe Thompson, BS, UC Riverside