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Severe Obesity in Children: A Call to Action
Letter from the President
As we lean into summer and prepare for ObesityWeek℠ 2014 in Boston, Mass., Nov. 2-7, I'd like to take a few minutes to reflect on the public perception of the obesity problem in North America and our role as researchers and clinicians in the larger discussion, specifically as it relates to the recent discussion on pediatric obesity.
Last week, an intriguing paper hit the news on pediatric obesity (JAMA Pediatrics, Skinner and Skelton), which is based on the NHANES longitudinal data set. Two key takeaways came to my attention. First, the overall, upward trend in pediatric obesity appears to be slowing. This positive news is consistent with the impact of the myriad public health efforts that began in earnest roughly a decade ago. The totality of our public health efforts — including awareness, education and intervention/prevention — must continue unabated if we are to move forward on this encouraging path. As a Society, we must be unwavering in our efforts to help create new solutions and quantify the effectiveness applying sound science.
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TOS Survey Shows Strength in Membership Among Young and Female Obesity Professionals
Contributed by TOS Diversity Committee
According to a 2011 study from the American Society of Association Executives, many non-profit organizations struggle to retain membership, in part due to younger generations questioning the value of becoming a member. However, based on new research conducted by TOS's Diversity Committee, we've learned that The Obesity Society (TOS) is the exception. According to the research, the Society shows incredible strength in its representation of early- and mid-career members based on their reported age, with the majority of responding members falling within the age range of 32 and 44. Also, 60% of respondents were female.
The Society's diversity survey is a confidential, yearlong, online research study conducted to 1) determine the representation of TOS membership and 2) identify whether TOS has met its goal of having a membership that is diverse and inclusive. The study was completed by approximately 500 members and consisted of four multiple choice questions asking birth year, gender, race/ethnicity and disability, as defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.
While the current TOS membership is a reflection of the US STEM workforce, the Diversity Committee is pleased by the overwhelming representation of women and hopes that this translates into more women in leadership positions in the near future.
Reminder: Call for 2014 Obesity Society Awards Nominations
Get recognized for your great work in obesity research, treatment and prevention! This is a reminder to send in your 2014 TOS award nominations by the April 30, 2014 deadline. The Obesity Society's Awards Program promotes, rewards, and encourages research in the field of obesity. Nominations are still being accepted for the following awards:
Nominations will be reviewed by TOS's Awards Committee and the winners will be announced in June. Awards will be presented at ObesityWeek™ 2014, from November 2 – 7 in Boston, MA. Find out more about each award as well as instructions for how to submit a nomination here. Please contact Sadie Campbell, Governance and Executive Assistance at email@example.com or 301-563-6526 if you have questions regarding these awards.
- 2014 Atkinson-Stern Award for Distinguished Public Service
- 2014 George A. Bray Founders Award
- 2014 Lilly Scientific Achievement Award
- 2014 Mickey Stunkard Lifetime Achievement Award
- 2014 TOPS Research Achievement Award
Capitol Update: OCC Campaigns for Consistent Medical Coverage of Bariatric Surgery
In late March, leaders of the Obesity Care Continuum (OCC) participated in a meeting with key staff from the HHS Office of Health Reform and CMS Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO) to discuss inconsistent coverage of bariatric surgery in a number of states across the country. Specifically, qualified health plans in California, Michigan, New Mexico and New York exclude or limit coverage for bariatric surgery, despite those states having essential health benefit benchmark plan submissions that include coverage for bariatric surgery.
Last month the OCC also submitted comments regarding the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's (AHRQ) Technology Assessment Program Topic Refinement draft key question document entitled, "Therapeutic Options for Obesity in Medicare Population." In the comments, the OCC applauded AHRQ for choosing to examine the comparative effectiveness of the full range of obesity treatments, including obesity surgery, pharmacologic options, lifestyle interventions, and a combination of interventions on the Medicare population with BMI greater than or equal to 30.
Find out more about TOS's efforts in Washington last month, including continued discussion on the Office of Personnel Management's letter on the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program, in the April Capitol Update here.
TOS Hosts Symposium on Insulin-Resistant Obesity at IMMUNOLOGY 2014™
This spring the American Association of Immunologists (AAI) hosts its annual IMMUNOLOGY meeting, May 2-6, 2014, in Pittsburgh, Pa. TOS has been recognized as a Guest Society for this year's meeting and will hold a symposium on obesity and immunology titled, "Unresolved, chronic inflammation as a mediator of diverse disease risks in insulin-resistant obesity."
The symposium will be held on Saturday, May 3, from 12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. in room 319, and will feature:
See the IMMUNOLOGY 2014 program for additional information about the symposium, or visit the main IMMUNOLOGY 2014 website here.
- Gerald V. Denis of Boston University’s School of Medicine, TOS Fellow
- Jennifer Snyder-Cappione, Boston University Medical Center
- Irving L. M. H. Aye, University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio
- Clara Westwell-Roper, University of British Columbia
- Harold S. Sacks, VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System
- Suneil Koliwad, University of California, San Francisco
BiPro Whey Protein Isolate (Now available in Chocolate, French Vanilla and Unflavored)
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Mothers with Higher BMI Have Increased Risk of Stillbirth, Infant Death
Contributed by Susan Franks, PhD
As reported in today's issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), women who are severely obese have a greater risk of adverse fetal outcomes compared to women with a normal range BMI. The study by Dagfinn Aune and colleagues found substantially greater risk of fetal death, stillbirth, and infant death for women whose onset of obesity occurred prior to or early on in the pregnancy. Guidelines for an optimally healthy pre-pregnancy weight have yet to be established; however, given the significant findings, clinicians should incorporate general weight management guidelines into pre-pregnancy counseling.
TOS Membership Reaches New Heights with Record Number of Early Career Research Grant Submissions
The submission period for Letters of Intent for the TOS Early Career Research Grants closed on March 31, 2014, with 156 applicants—a new record for TOS! The program offers two grants of up to $25,000 to junior-level investigators and postdoctoral trainees who submit proposals that will likely result in new and innovative approaches to obesity research. Early Career Research Grant applications will be reviewed by the TOS Scientific Review Committee in the coming weeks, and applicants chosen to move on to round two will be notified on May 15, 2014.
During the Early Career Research Grant submission period, TOS membership also increased, with 159 new members joining since the start of 2014. As of early April, TOS membership stood at a record number of more than 2,500 members.
To find out about additional grant and award opportunities at TOS, visit the web page here.
ObesityWeek 2014 (Known By No Other Name)
In past years, TOS has faced the challenge of for-profit companies reaching into the non-profit world to host scientific meetings for obesity professionals. Some of these meetings are named so similarly, featuring conference names such as Obesity-2014, that many in the field end up being duped into attending the wrong meeting. These misled attendees also pay an opportunity
cost, as they likely miss attending the authentic scientific conference they were looking for, which would have probably cost less. So make sure you and your colleagues know — it's ObesityWeek 2014 — known by no other name.
How Much Emphasis Do Your Elected Officials Put on Medial Research?
Two-thirds of Americans (66%) say it's important for candidates running for political office to assign a high priority to funding medical research, according to America Speaks, Volume 14, a compilation of key questions from public opinion polls commissioned by Research!America. However, only 12% of respondents said they were "very well informed" about the positions of their senators and representative when it comes to their support of medical and scientific research.
To help close this knowledge gap, Research!America and partner organizations are launching a national voter education initiative, Ask Your Candidates — Is Medical Research Progress a Priority, which urges candidates to share their views on government policies and support for medical innovation conducted in both the public and private sectors.
For more information about the campaign and to find out how to ask your elected-candidates about their medical research support, visit www.askyourcandidates.org.
TOS 2013 ObesityWeek Photos Now Available
Photos from ObesityWeek 2013 are now available on the TOS website! These pictures were taken of a variety of events and activities in Atlanta, including the welcome reception, the keynote address, award ceremonies, exhibit hall presentations, the photo booth and more.
You are welcome to share these photos as long as you provide proper attribution to The Obesity Society Annual Meeting @ObesityWeek 2013. When sharing on social media, we suggest using the hashtag #OW2013. Don't forget you can tag @ObesitySociety and @ObesityWeek in your posts as well!
Health.com Highlights Top 15 Medical Weight Loss Centers, Many Run by TOS Members
A recent article by Health.com highlights the top 15 medical weight loss centers around the country that provide a safe, reliable option for adults looking to lose weight. Although these programs vary in length, intensity and structure, Health.com praises them for meeting two important criteria: they offer an evidence-based treatment plan (meaning the methods are backed by solid clinical research), and they are closely supervised by MDs and other medical professionals.
Out of these 15 medical weight loss centers, many are run by TOS members. A full list of the centers is included in the article from Health.com here. Congratulations to the TOS members whose hard work has directly led to the success of these centers!
Students and Young Professionals Host Canadian Obesity Meeting, June 18-21
The Canadian Obesity Network is supporting the next generation of obesity researchers and health professionals by working with students to host the biennial Canadian Obesity Student Meeting (COSM). This meeting is entirely organized and run by the Canadian Obesity Network's students and new professionals, and provides opportunities to showcase some of the world's best obesity research.
This year's COSM will be held at the University of Waterloo, ON, June 18 – 21, 2014. The conference brings together more than 200 students and new professionals from around the world working in obesity prevention and management. Attendees will include representatives from academia, industry, government and non-profit organizations.
Registration for this event is now open.
ABOM Now Working with NBME for 2014 Certification Exam
The American Board of Obesity Medicine (ABOM) has contracted with the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) to assist in the development, administration, scoring, and reporting of results for this year's ABOM certification examination. Test items will undergo extensive editing and review by NBME subject matter experts and professional test editors before approved to be placed on the examination.
The NBME is a nonprofit institution that strives to provide the highest quality testing and research services to organizations involved in the licensure and certification of medical and health science professionals. This change will be implemented in time for the Dec. 6 – 13, 2014 test administration.
Don't forget, the TOS Education Committee will be hosting a 2014 ABOM Review Course as part of ObesityWeek 2014 on Nov. 2 – 3. Stay tuned to TOS eNews for additional information about the ABOM Review Course, and please email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Weight discrimination: Public supports disability and civil rights legal protection
World News Network
Public support for policies that prohibit weight discrimination and even provide disability and civil rights protection for obese individuals has grown in the past few years, according to a new study by researchers from the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity. The study is published online in the journal Obesity.
The politics of food addiction: Who wins, who 'loses'
Family Practice News
It's too soon to disrupt current obesity treatment by declaring food addiction to be a clinical condition, according to Dr. Paul Fletcher.
"If we are to employ [the term] food addiction ... it needs a firm scientific basis," said Dr. Fletcher, who is the Bernard Wolfe Professor of Health Neuroscience in the department of psychiatry at University of Cambridge.
New mandate for coverage of obesity drugs
Health insurance plans for federal employees will now cover medications for obesity, according to a letter from a federal regulator.
Plans will not be able to exclude new drugs — namely Qsymia and Belviq — from obesity treatment, John O'Brien, director of healthcare and insurance at the Office of Personnel Management, wrote recently in a letter to federal insurance carriers.
Obese smokers show impaired perception of high-fat and sweet foods
People who smoke also tend to eat more high-fat foods, and obese people eat more high-fat foods, says a new study, "Cigarette smoking and obesity are associated with decreased fat perception in women," published in the April 2014 issue of the journal Obesity. You can check out the PDF article of this study online.
Study: US childhood obesity rates have increased since 1999
U.S. childhood obesity rates have increased over the past 14 years, according to a study published on Monday, casting doubt on a recent analysis by government health researchers that found a sharp drop in preschool obesity rates over the past decade.
Researchers: Medical cost of childhood obesity is $19,000
Are the millions of dollars spent to try to reverse childhood obesity a good investment? One answer might be found in the cost if the condition goes unchecked: about $19,000 per obese child in lifetime medical costs, researchers reported.
Doctor moves his campaign against obesity to George Washington University
The Chronicle of Higher Education
William H. Dietz joined the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 1997 because he wanted to influence national policy on obesity. After 15 years of focusing attention on the growing waistlines of many Americans, he is now looking to exert a similar influence through academe.
Father's obesity tied to child's risk for autism
Paternal obesity may increase a child's risk of developing autism spectrum disorders, MedPage Today reported.
In a study in the journal Pediatrics, researchers studied a cohort of 93,000 children from the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study. Over the course of the study, 419 children were diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders.
The Obesity Society eNews
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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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