Welcome to the Sugar, Stress, Environment and Weight Blog!


The obesity epidemic is one of the major health crises in the U.S. with nearly 2 out of 3 adults overweight or obese. More people than ever are gaining unhealthy weight due to the dangerous modern recipe: unhealthy food environments overloaded with sugar, compounded with stressful, inactive lifestyles that can make a lasting impact on the body and the brain. We see these conditions disproportionately affecting our most vulnerable populations, with 1 out of 6 children and adolescents with obesity, and greater prevalence within ethnically diverse and low-income communities. With obesity being a major contributor to the development of diabetes and disease, it makes it more imperative than ever scientists and policy makers fight together to find new solutions, now. 

Who is ssew?

In 2014, with the support of the University of California Office of the President, SSEW Co-Directors Drs. Elissa Epel and Laura Schmidt came together to ask what University of California researchers can do to help find solutions to alarming trends of obesity. The Sugar, Stress, Environment and Weight (SSEW) Initiative was born. Based at the UCSF Center for Obesity Assessment, Study, and Treatment (COAST), the SSEW Initiative has been leading a UC wide effort to make the UC system, California, and beyond more sugar-free and healthier.

"We are a dynamic team UC-wide research scientists, physicians, and California policy influencers who are passionate about conducting science on the role of sugar, stress, social disadvantage on the obesity epidemic."
- Elissa Epel, PhD

This blog is our team's new online resource to share our research and events with you. Follow us and subscribe as we tackle sugar, obesity, and stress from all sides, spanning basic research to interventions and leveraging policy.


If you live in the Bay Area, join SSEW Initiative and UC wide faculty on October 27th, 2016 from 10am-4pm as we present our symposium on Food & Addiction.  CLICK HERE TO REGISTER NOW  This event happens once a year, so don’t miss it! Not local? Not a problem. We’ll be live tweeting and putting the event on periscope so you won't miss it! Follow us on Twitter @COAST_UCSF for the latest.


We welcome you warmly and hope you will join in our efforts to build a strong, healthy future!

Samantha Schilf
Executive Director
SSEW Initiative