By Wendy Sarubbi | November 20, 2017 4:12 pm

Her dedication to healthy eating has earned her the moniker of “obesity warrior” and now a role editing one of the world’s top nutrition journals.

Dr.  Magdalena Pasarica, associate professor of medicine at UCF, was recently named associate editor of the International Journal of Obesity, a peer-reviewed medical journal published by the Nature Publishing Group.  In 2014, the Journal Citation Reports showed the journal had an impact factor of 5.004, ranking it 7th out of 77 journals in the category “Nutrition & Dietetics” and 19th out of 128 journals in the category “Endocrinology & Metabolism.”

The journal publishes basic science and clinical studies that address the development and treatment of obesity. As an associate editor, Dr. Pasarica will help review submissions and determine their suitability for publication.

“This new role is a significant accomplishment,” Dr. Pasarica said. ‘Especially because having a UCF faculty as editor for this journal will help to put UCF on the map as a university that has renowned faculty who are experienced in this field. This will definitely help to increase our visibility everywhere.”

A native of Romania, Dr. Pasarica’s interest in obesity research piqued after she completed her medical degree at the University of Medicine and Pharmacy in Bucharest.

“At that time in Romania, obesity was slightly increasing after the downfall of communism,’ she said, “and so I yearned to learn more about it and decided to get a Ph.D. in nutrition at Wayne State University. That’s where I started with obesity research, starting with basic science. Then I got into translational and clinical research.”

Now an award-winning physician educator, Dr. Pasarica was recognized early in her career as a rising star with a “New Investigator Award” from the International Obesity Society for her 2007 discovery that a virus – the human adenovirus-36 that causes respiratory and eye infections – may contribute to obesity in some people. Her research has also looked at the benefit of exercise for obese women with polycystic ovarian syndrome, insulin resistance in type II diabetes, and using evidence-based medicine to improve medical student learning of lifestyle management for treating obesity.

“Obesity is a highly prevalent disease that affects approximately 70 percent of the U.S. population,” Dr. Pasarica said, “and so obesity research is important, especially because there are a lot of misconceptions and biases related to obesity, for example it’s not always a direct result of an individual’s lifestyle. So it’s important to keep working to identify causes, so we can have a breakthrough and help more people who have obesity.”

Dr. Pasarica joined the College of Medicine in 2014 and now trains future physicians in primary care, obesity, diabetes and lifestyle medicine, and serves as director for the internal/family medicine clerkship. As the medical director of the student-run KNIGHTS free clinic, she developed an obesity evaluation and management program for patients, which earned the clinic a National Innovation Award for Healthcare Provider Training and Education, a joint initiative of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, the Bipartisan Policy Center, and the American College of Sports Medicine.

Dr. Pasarica is also a practicing physician and manages patients of all ages with obesity.

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