Stevenson High School student studies childhood obesity
Jack Hirsch, a junior at Stevenson High School, shows off the presentation he gave to the American Society of Bariatric Physicians at their recent conference in Orlando. | Photo courtesy of the Hirsch family
Updated: November 21, 2012 12:15PM
LINCOLNSHIRE — Jack Hirsch, a junior at Stevenson High School, recently took a dream vacation, spending late October in Orlando instead of the chilly hinterlands of Chicago’s northwest suburbs.
But the 16-year-old’s trip was a working vacation: Hirsch was there to address the American Society of Bariatric Physicians.
At its 62nd annual symposium, Hirsch gave his presentation “Relative Satiety Value of Candy and Gum — Potential Therapies for Childhood Obesity.”
Q: What brought you to Orlando?
A: For the last four years I have been involved at the state level in the IJAS (Illinois Junior Academy of Sciences) competition with experiments designed to elucidate the satiety value of varying foods. Satiety is how full ingesting a food makes one feel. For instance, soon after eating Chinese food, one feels hungry again. This is an example of a low-satiety food. My investigations have sought to determine how different isocaloric foods vary in their ability to induce satiety.
Q: Why is it that, even after eating a supersized order of fries, people still want more? Is this an extremely low satiety, or extremely high addictiveness?
A: I do not know, because I didn’t specifically study fries. However, in adults, potatoes have a very high satiety value.
Q: How is it that a teenager came to address a group of educated doctors about medicine?
A: Obesity is not limited to adults. While satiety value of foods has been studied in adults, my research is the first to investigate this is children. These results have implications in the medical world for aiding in the treatment and management of obesity.
Q: What are your college prospects looking like?
A: I would be happy at myriad schools, but I am a diehard Michigan fan.
Q: How did you come to be a Wolverines guy?
A: I have always been a fan of Michigan football, basketball and hockey. I vividly recall, while in fifth grade, cheering for Michigan when they played (Ohio State University) as the two top teams in the country. Last year, I attended the best football game I have ever witnessed. There, Denard Robinson, my favorite player, beat Notre Dame under the lights with two seconds left.
Q: Any idea what type of career you’d like to get into?
A: I am interested in pursuing a career in the medical sciences.