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FDA approves diabetes drug, liraglutide, for obesity treatment
TOS
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently approved a formulation of the Novo Nordisk diabetes drug liraglutide as a treatment option for chronic weight management. The injection drug will be marketed under the brand name of Saxenda. The drug is approved for use in adults with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater (obesity) or adults with a BMI of 27 or greater (overweight) who have at least one weight-related condition such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes or high cholesterol (dyslipidemia).

"Obesity is a complex, chronic disease in need of new treatments," said Nikhil Dhurandhar, PhD, FTOS, President of The Obesity Society. "Equipping the nation's doctors with proven and effective treatments gives new hope to individuals with obesity who have found little success with diet and exercise alone. Saxenda adds an important new option to the obesity treatment toolbox, which now includes a total of five anti-obesity drugs."

Despite FDA approval of Saxenda, and three other new anti-obesity medications since 2012, many health insurers do not offer coverage for them, restricting access for patients. Find out more in this recent article quoting TOS Advocacy Advisor Ted Kyle, RPh, by Kaiserhealthnews.org.

Read more about the recent FDA approval here and here.
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Save the date for ObesityWeek 2015: Nov. 2-7 in Los Angeles, CA
TOS
Mark your calendars for Nov. 2-7, 2015, and plan your travel to Los Angeles, CA, for the third year of ObesityWeek, the combined annual meeting of The Obesity Society (TOS) and the American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS). With more than 100 sessions, ObesityWeek attendees can focus on what matters most to them – whether basic science, clinical practice, surgery or anything in between.

The ObesityWeek exhibit hall is the largest of its kind, featuring new products and services in nearly 200 exhibit booths. Check out last year's exhibit hall in this time-lapse video from ObesityWeek 2014. Stay up to date on the latest ObesityWeek information at ObesityWeek.com.


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Small, frequent process rewards may outperform optional group meetings in a team-based, online program for weight loss
Contributed by Rajiv Narayan, MSc.
Small, frequent financial incentives can be a cost-effective means to improve weight loss in a team-based, online program for middle-aged white women with obesity. A study published in the January issue of Obesity by Leahey et al compared outcomes among 268 participants randomized into a control arm featuring a 12-week, team-based program with an online tool for self-monitoring and wellness education; a financial incentive arm that offered up to $10 a week to use the tool (with cash prizes for at least 5% weight loss); and a support-group arm with the option to attend a weekly, professional-led meeting.

At 12 weeks, the control arm demonstrated 4.2% weight loss at $34/kg, the financial incentive arm had 6.4% weight loss at $34/kg, and those with optional group meetings had 5.8% weight loss at $87/kg. At the 12-month follow-up, the control group showed a 1.2% loss at $140/kg, the financial incentive group had 3.1% loss at $64/kg, and the optional meeting group had 4.5% loss at $113/kg. The authors furthered that those with financial incentives showed the greatest adherence, noting that process incentives (i.e. self-monitoring) may be superior to outcome incentives. Read the full study here.

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Get to know a TOS Fellow! Q&A with Martin Binks, PhD, FTOS
Contributed by TOS Early-Career Committee

Dr. Martin Binks
It's time for another edition of the Q&A interviews with TOS Fellows! This is the perfect opportunity to get to know leaders in the obesity field a little better, and learn more about their personal lives outside of work. Here are some questions and answers from our interview with TOS Fellow Martin Binks, PhD, FTOS, Associate Professor of Nutritional Sciences at the Behavioral Medicine and Translational Research Lab at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. Dr. Binks is also Secretary/Treasurer of The Obesity Society:

Q: Please tell us about your current work and your professional developmental trajectory.
A: I am an Associate Professor of Nutritional Sciences at the Behavioral Medicine and Translational Research Lab at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. I am also Secretary/Treasurer of TOS. My educational background includes:
  • Concordia University Montreal Quebec Can. BA 1986 Psychology
  • Fairleigh Dickinson University, Teaneck, NJ MA 1999 Clinical Psychology
  • Fairleigh Dickinson University, Teaneck NJ PhD 2002 Clinical Psychology
  • Medical University of South Carolina Internship 1999-2000 Behavioral Medicine
  • Weight Management Center Postdoctoral Fellowship 2000-2003 Obesity Research


  • Q: What aspects of obesity research are the most exciting to you right now?
    A: Innovation and translation! In my opinion, we need to break down the silos between basic science, clinical science, clinical application, community/public health and advocacy to conceptualize our studies from a transdisciplinary perspective. Bench scientists developing animal models need to conceptualize their work with an eye to clinical (and possibly community) application far down the line. We all need to communicate well with the rest of the care continuum. Similarly, at the level of community we need better understanding of the basic science and how this should inform community intervention and policy discussions. A true translational continuum across disciplines will fuel innovation.

    Q: What are your favorite things to do when you're not at work?
    A: Fast bikes, fast cars and adrenalin. I also love being "Papa" to my 5-year-old granddaughter and 3-year-old grandson and all my wonderful family.

    Read the rest of the interview with Dr. Binks here. These interviews are featured bi-monthly in the TOS eNews. Don't miss the next one on January 21!

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    Obesity Action Coalition welcomes new Vice-Chairman
    TOS

    Amber Huett-Garcia, MPA, BS
    The Obesity Action Coalition (OAC) is proud to announce Amber Huett-Garcia, MPA, BS, as Vice-chairman of the Coalition. Amber is a longtime OAC member and has served on the OAC National Board since 2012. She is the past-Chair of the OAC Convention Planning Committee where she led for three years and most recently helped to develop the Convention Scholarship Program. She continues to serve on the Convention Planning Committee as well as the Revenue Generation Committee. She is also the recipient of the 2014 OAC Chairman's Award. Ms. Huett-Garcia is a director at Teach for America and lives in Memphis, Tenn.

    The OAC also welcomed Sarah Bramblette to the National Board of Directors. As an OAC member since 2012, Sarah has dedicated herself to raising awareness of the OAC, weight bias and the disease of obesity. In 2014, she was honored with the OAC Member of the Year Award for her support of the OAC's mission and goals. She was featured in the OAC's Your Weight Matters Magazine and was also the first-place winner of HealthCentral's #LiveBold Anti-stigma Photo Contest. She is a lipedema, lymphedema, obesity, and health insurance advocate and is currently working toward a master’s degree in health law.

    For more information on the OAC National Board of Directors, please visit the OAC website at www.ObesityAction.org.

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    2015 grant available for research exploring health and nutrition impacts of nuts and dried fruits
    TOS
    The International Nut and Dried Fruit Council Foundation (INC) is pleased to announce a new grant to fund research projects that may contribute to enhancing the understanding of the health effects of nuts and dried fruits. INC is a not-for-profit organization representing more than 600 members worldwide and is focused on providing and enhancing the understanding of health information related to nuts and dried fruits.

    This call for expressions of interest is open for public and private institutions, as well as non-profit organizations, and encourages cooperative research. Research should focus on health and nutrition related to nuts and dried fruits and take into account INC research priorities, which range from the impact of these foods on cognitive function to body weight/adipose tissue distribution.

    Expressions of interest must be submitted online using the Application Form by January 31, 2015. Find additional details and guidelines for applying here.

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    NIH awards grant to track fat metabolism using millisecond technology
    TOS
    In 2014, the National Institutes of Health awarded grants totaling $7.9 million to 25 research teams who are studying single cells as part of an effort to spur development of personalized treatments that target disease at the cellular level. The grants are supported by the NIH Common Fund's Single Cell Analysis Program (SCAP).

    One group of projects is validating and refining already established technologies for studying the biological properties of single cells. As part of this project, a grant was given to a team of researchers who are tracking fat metabolism using millisecond technology. A detailed description of all funded SCAP grants can be found here.

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    Postprandial triglycerides and adipose tissue storage of dietary fatty acids: Impact of menopause and estradiol
    Contributed by Susanne Votruba PhD, RD
    Generally, postmenopausal women have a worsening of metabolism-reducing lipoproteins, or postprandial TG, resulting in greater risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), but the mechanisms behind this are not fully understood. In a new study published in the January issue of Obesity, Bessesen et al found that treatment with short-term estradiol (E2) reduced menopause-related increases caused by this lipoprotein. However, it also increased the production of fat cells in the thigh area, but without increasing fat storage.

    Researchers evaluated 23 premenopausal (42±4 years) and 22 postmenopausal (55±4 years) women matched for adiposity who volunteered for the study.

    As expected, results showed that postmenopausal women trended toward higher postprandial TG, which was reduced with E2 treatment. Menopause had no effect on the oxidation or storage of dietary FA and these parameters were not altered by E2. Differences in adipocyte size were found due to menopause, especially in femoral subcutaneous adipose tissue and E2 appeared to increase the proportion of small adipocytes in the femoral region.

    This study confirmed that healthy lean postmenopausal women had increases in triglycerides, glucose and insulin compared to premenopausal women. Short-term treatment with E2 may be beneficial for reducing TG and insulin but not on the oxidation or storage of dietary FA.

    Read the full study here.

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    OBESITY IN THE NEWS


    Many insurers do not cover drugs approved to help people lose weight
    Kaiser Health News
    In December, the Food and Drug Administration approved a new anti-obesity drug, Saxenda, the fourth prescription drug the agency has given the green light to fight obesity since 2012. But even though two-thirds of adults are overweight or obese — and many may need help sticking to New Year's weight-loss resolutions — there's a good chance their insurer won't cover Saxenda or other anti-obesity drugs.
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    Resolving to lose weight this year? Willpower isn't your biggest obstacle.
    The Washington Post
    Helen Leahey writes: With a new year comes the annual resolutions to lose extra pounds. If you've taken that pledge, I wish you good luck! But chances are you will be one of the 92 percent who fail to reach their new year's goals. Society tends to blame this failure on a lack of willpower — people don't lose weight simply because they're too lazy. But the truth is far more complicated. The only consistently successful weight-loss method for morbidly obese people (those with a body mass index over 40) has been bariatric surgery.
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    The science of fat: What we don't know will hurt you
    The Huffington Post
    The following is the introduction to the chapter "The Science of Fat" in the book Fat Kids: Truth and Consequences. Why we become fat and how we lose fat is of primary interest in our culture and our homes. What we don't know may surprise you. It is far more complex than even scientists currently know. This is just the beginning of an extensive interview with Dr. Emily J. Dhurandhar, a scientist and laboratory researcher of "obesity." A great deal more information is in the book and is still to be learned.
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    As a matter of fact: The Chicago Tribune misses on obesity
    ConscienHealth
    The subject of disabilities arising from obesity seems to bring out strong hostilities toward people with obesity that obscure rational thought. In a editorial on the subject, the Chicago Tribune recently argued that people who have disabilities as a result of obesity should not be protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
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    Is there a link between obesity and the immune system?
    Examiner
    Certain safe framework cells may assume a critical part in weight control, an early study proposes. Researchers had realized that the insusceptible cells may help avert heftiness in mice. The new discoveries are the first to propose the same is valid in people, analysts report in the Dec. 22 online release of Nature. The examiners found that the cells, known as Ilc2s, were less basic in gut fat from fat grown-ups, versus more slender individuals.
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    A year in review: The good and the bad for eating disorders and weight stigma
    Examiner
    Only a few days ago, we started the year 2015, Jan. 1 marking both an ending and a beginning. This is a time to look forward, but also to reflect back on the previous year and with it, it's successes and pitfalls. For mental health, body image, and eating disorders, it was a year filled with new advances, gains for treatment, weight stigma battles and people taking a stand against unfair practices. Last year started off on a high as the major insurance company, Cigna, settled in court regarding wrongful denials of mental health treatment compensation.
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    Your birth year could influence your odds for obesity, study suggests
    HealthDay
    The year in which you're born might affect the activity of a gene that could raise your odds for obesity, a new study finds. Members of families who share an obesity-prone mutation of the FTO gene are more likely to carry extra weight if they were born after 1942, the researchers found. "You could have a family where your father might be born in 1920 and you were born after 1942, and you look exactly like him, and only on the basis of the food and environment around you, you will have a higher BMI than your father," said lead author Dr. James Niels Rosenquist, an instructor at Harvard Medical School and psychiatrist with Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. BMI (body mass index) is a standard measurement of weight and height.
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    Fast-food menus still unhealthy
    Healio
    Although fast-food restaurants have made an effort to make their meals healthier by decreasing their size, the meals remain high in calories, sodium and fat, according to two studies published in Preventing Chronic Disease. Alice H. Lichtenstein, DSc, of the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, and colleagues conducted two studies examining temporal trends in fast-food restaurants from 1996 to 2013 and 2000 to 2013.
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    Weight training wards off age-related abdominal fat better than aerobic activity
    Healio
    Weight training for 20 minutes per day helped healthy men stave off age-related abdominal fat gain better than engaging in aerobic activities for the same amount of time, according to research published in Obesity. Although aerobic exercise alone was associated with less weight gain than weight training overall, a combination of the two optimized waist circumference results, Harvard School of Public Health researchers and colleagues found.
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    Disclaimer: eNews is a digest of the most important news selected for The Obesity Society from thousands of sources by the editors of MultiBriefs, an independent organization that also manages and sells advertising. The Obesity Society does not endorse any of the advertised products and services. Opinions expressed in the articles are those of the author and not of The Obesity Society.

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