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Puerto Rican officials blame parents of children with obesity, consider fines
TOS

Dr. Jose Fernandez on CNN en Espanol
In an attempt to address the significant problem of childhood obesity in the United States territory, Puerto Rican officials have proposed a $500 - $800 fine for parents whose children have obesity and have not improved after parent-focused education. The legislators supporting the bill under debate say it is intended to improve children's health by encouraging parents to make healthier choices for their families. While some public and pediatric health organizations have called the bill "unfair," The Obesity Society (TOS) and The Obesity Action Coalition (OAC) go further to call it a misguided policy that ignores the core scientific understanding of obesity as a disease.

"Obesity is a disease, not a choice made by parents or their children," said Nikhil Dhurandhar, PhD, FTOS, TOS President and professor and chair of the department of nutritional sciences at Texas Tech University.

The societies ask Puerto Rican legislators to consider whether they would impose fines against parents whose children had other diseases such as diabetes, asthma or cancer.

"We appeal to policymakers to treat parents of children with obesity with the same respect they would afford parents of children with other diseases — with compassion, support and incentives for improvement, rather than penalties," said Jose Fernandez, PhD, FTOS, TOS Fellow from Puerto Rico and professor of nutrition science at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Dr. Fernandez appeared on CNN en Espanol on the topic on Monday (see image). Read more in TOS press release here.
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ASSOCIATION NEWS


Call for Papers — 3rd Annual Obesity Journal Symposium at ObesityWeek℠ 2015
TOS
The Editors of Obesity want your best research for the 3rd Annual Obesity Journal Symposium, which will be held during ObesityWeek 2015 in Los Angeles, CA. The Symposium and the accompanying special section of the journal are designed to showcase the journal’s top papers.

The authors of the winning papers will give oral presentations during the Symposium, and a special section at the front of the November 2015 issue of Obesity will be reserved for their work. Both the Symposium and the full published papers will be publicized to the obesity research community and the press.

Investigators planning to submit an abstract for ObesityWeek are encouraged to submit their full paper for the Symposium in order to bring even greater visibility to their work.

State-of-the art research on the mechanisms of energy balance, innovative clinical or translational studies that challenge current paradigms, and novel "proof of concept" papers are particularly sought.

Please submit your paper through the journal's online manuscript submission system. Entries are now being accepted, and all papers must be submitted for consideration by June 1.

Additional details are available here. Read last year's winning papers here.

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Weight-loss treatment recommended for 65% of Americans
Contributed by Christopher N. Ochner, PhD
The recently published 2013 Guidelines for the Management of Overweight and Obesity in Adults updates the prior guidelines, published in 1998. Both provided an algorithm for estimating the number of U.S. adults who would be considered candidates for weight-loss treatment based on expert opinion, BMI, waist circumference, and CVD risk factors. In applying these algorithms to create estimates from NHANES data from 2007-2012, it was determined that the 2013 update increased the number of U.S. adults recommended for weight-loss treatment by 21% from 116 million to 140 million, making nearly 65% of U.S. adults candidates for treatment. Also, according to the new guidelines, more than 50% of U.S. adults (116 million) could be considered for pharmacologic therapy (anti-obesity medication) in addition to lifestyle therapy, and nearly 15% (32 million) could be considered for bariatric surgery.

However, recent figures suggest that there are less than 3 million current medication users and less than 200,000 bariatric procedures performed annually. Given the relatively limited long-term success of lifestyle interventions, these numbers suggest that the current mainstream clinical approach to weight management is unlikely to be sufficient to turn the tide on the obesity epidemic.

Read more in TOS's press release from ObesityWeek and share the infographic.

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New video illustrates benefits of bariatric surgery for people with severe obesity
American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery
Bariatric surgery has many benefits to treat severe obesity and its many comorbidities. While many patients know of bariatric surgery, they often have a misunderstanding of both the level of risk, as well as the potential long-term outcomes associated with this surgery.

A new initiative by TOS's partner, the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) is intended to expand knowledge and understanding of bariatric surgery to patients and physicians. Working with a few exemplary patients, ASMBS created "It Starts Today — How obesity surgery helps people reclaim their lives." This seven-minute video shares stories of patients who found bariatric surgery to be right option for them and the benefits of an improved lifestyle that came as a result.

Watch and share the video online here.

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OAC now accepting applicants for National Convention Scholarship
Obesity Action Coalition
Obesity Action Coalition (OAC) is now accepting applications for the 2015 Your Weight Matters National Convention Scholarship Program - a program that helps those in financial need attend the OAC’s educational Convention, set to take place August 13-16 in San Antonio, Texas. This year, the Convention Scholarship Program will continue to award full and partial scholarships to individuals who submit an application by the deadline date — Tuesday, March 31.

Launched in 2014, the Convention Scholarship Program awarded more than $10,000 in scholarships for individuals to attend the 3rd Annual Convention. For 2015, the OAC aims to match and award more scholarships to help individuals attend YWM2015. Applications are evaluated based on three areas of criteria: Statement of Financial Need; Impact of Obesity on Your Life; and Your Intent for Attending the Your Weight Matters Convention.

Find out more about the Convention Scholarship Program here.

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Scientists map genes linked to obesity
Health Central
An effort to create a genetic map of obesity has uncovered more than 90 new gene regions related to gaining weight, including some with connections to the brain. That, according to the study published in the journal Nature, suggests that obesity could partly have a neurological basis.

An international team of researchers from the GIANT (Genetic Investigation of Anthropometric Trait) consortium analyzed the DNA libraries of more than 300,000 people. They found that 33 newly pinpointed gene regions were linked to body fat distribution — which helps explain why some people are pear-shaped and others gain weight around their stomachs — and that 60 genetic locations influence body mass index or BMI, including some with links to the nervous system. That, according to the researchers, suggests that obesity is not just a metabolic condition, but one that also has a neurological basis.

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Free Online CME: Strategies to improve diabetes prevention and treatment
TOS
Watch top diabetes specialists — live and online — discuss the latest scientific research live via streaming video, participate in real-time Q&A and earn AMA PRA Category 1 CreditsTM.

Speakers:
  • Martin Abrahamson, MD, Joslin Diabetes Center
  • Mark H. Schutta, MD, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
  • Richard Beaser, MD, Harvard Medical School
Topics:
  • Pathophysiologic immune and inflammatory components of psoriasis
  • Update on long term safety and efficacy of TNF receptor blockers
  • Dosing and scheduling options for disbiologic agents
  • Strategies for controlling moderate-to-severe disease, including combination therapy
  • Special management considerations for patients with comorbidities
Register online for Stemming the Diabetes Epidemic: Strategies to Improve Prevention and Treatment, which takes place Wednesday, March 11, 2015 from 12PM – 1PM ET.

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OBESITY IN THE NEWS


The US government is poised to withdraw longstanding warnings about cholesterol
The Washington Post
The nation's top nutrition advisory panel has decided to drop its caution about eating cholesterol-laden food, a move that could undo almost 40 years of government warnings about its consumption. The group's finding that cholesterol in the diet need no longer be considered a "nutrient of concern" stands in contrast to the committee's findings five years ago, the last time it convened.
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Can you keep the weight off?
qconline.com
So you lost a significant amount of weight. Don’t congratulate yourself yet. As tough as dieting may have been, it may be even more of a struggle to avoid regaining the pounds. The problem is frustrating to health professionals just as it is to you.
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The big lie of diet and exercise
ConscienHealth
Let's start with the truth of diet and exercise, which is that with careful attention to diet and exercise, most people can significantly improve their health. But the lie is that diet and exercise offers a reliable cure for obesity.
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Puerto Rican legislators propose to fine parents of children with obesity
Healio
Puerto Rican officials are addressing the issue of childhood obesity by recommending a $500 to $800 fine for parents of children with obesity, according to a press release. Parents in the United States territory of Puerto Rico would be fined if their children’s health conditions do not improve following parent-focused education on obesity.
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Cleveland Clinic: Vegan diet benefits obese children
The Plain Dealer
Obese children with high cholesterol who followed a strict vegan diet with little added fat in a small Cleveland Clinic study showed significant improvements in both weight and heart disease risk factors in only a month, according to research released Thursday.
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Obesity research center's director looks to evaluate DC wellness plan
GW Hatchet
George Washington University's new obesity research center is looking to evaluate how well a city-wide health plan, which a GW public health professor put in place nearly five years ago, has decreased child obesity and increased access to healthy food across the city.
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Why diets shouldn't tell you what not to eat
U.S. News & World Report
The co-author of a new study in the Annals of Internal Medicine explains its takeaways for weight loss.
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