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Letter from the President
TOS
Dear Colleagues,

It's time to submit your abstracts for oral presentations and posters for The Obesity Society Annual Meeting at ObesityWeek℠ 2013! The abstract submission site opens today and we'll be accepting your submissions through June 15 of this year. We have moved back the deadline this year in recognition of the later meeting time (Nov. 11-16), and to condense the time between abstract submission and presentation at the meeting.
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ASSOCIATION NEWS


This Baby Is Coming Soon: Register Now for Obesity and Pregnancy Conference, Boston, May 15-17
TOS
Interested in the tie between pregnancy and obesity? The International Association for the Study of Obesity (IASO) and TOS are co-hosting a new "hot topic" conference entitled, "Obesity and Pregnancy," May 15-17, in Boston, Mass., open to clinicians, midwives, psychologists, nutritionists and basic scientists involved in the field of obesity and reproduction. The conference program will include a balance of basic science, translational research and clinical practice.

Confirmed speakers include:
  • Nancy Butte, PhD — Professor of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine
  • Matthew Gillman, MD, SM — Director, Obesity Prevention Program, Harvard Medical School/Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute
  • Susan Ozanne, University of Cambridge, Reader in Developmental Endocrinology, British Heart Foundation Senior Fellow, Department of Clinical Biochemistry
The conference will include presentations on:
  • Molecular signals at the maternal-fetal interface and the impact of obesity
  • Effects of maternal obesity on fetal growth and metabolic health of the offspring
  • Lifestyle interventions during pregnancy
For more information and to register please click here. If you have specific questions, email education@obesity.org or call 240-485-1951.

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Open Today! Submit Your Abstracts for ObesityWeek℠ 2013
TOS
Calling all submissions of the latest groundbreaking research in obesity prevention and treatment! Beginning today, May 1, TOS is accepting abstracts for presentation during ObesityWeek℠ 2013. Find out more information about how and where to submit your abstracts here. Accepted abstracts will be presented at the Annual Meeting as either oral presentations or posters. The abstract submission website is open today through June 15, 2013.

Submit your abstracts to the following tracks:
  • Metabolism and Integrative Physiology
  • Neuroscience
  • Intervention and Clinical Studies
  • Population Health
  • Policy
We look forward to reviewing your top-notch obesity research!

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Call for Applicants: Ethan Sims Young Investigator Award and Pat Simons Travel Grants
TOS
The call for Ethan Sims and Pat Simons candidates opens today as part of the TOS abstract submission website opening. Candidates can for these opportunities in conjunction with abstract submission, as both are intended to help promote the work of young investigators at the TOS Annual Meeting at ObesityWeek℠ 2013.

Ethan Sims Young Investigator Award
This award recognizes excellence in research by a young investigator, based on his/her submitted abstract and oral presentation during the Annual Scientific Meeting. Five finalists will be chosen on the basis of the quality of their abstracts and finalists will be invited to present their abstracts during the Ethan Sims Young Investigator plenary session. These presentations will be judged by the TOS Awards Committee and the award winner will be announced at the conclusion of the session. All five finalists will be able to claim up to $1,000 in travel expenses (to the Annual Meeting), and the winner will receive a $1,000 prize.

Eligible candidates for this award must be currently registered for an undergraduate or graduate degree, be currently training in a post-doctoral fellowship, or have completed their educational studies (including fellowship) no more than three years before submission of the abstract. Ethan Sims Award candidates must submit a CV and request a letter of recommendation from a member of The Obesity Society.

Pat Simons Travel Grants
As part of its commitment to young investigators in the field of obesity research, TOS will award a number of travel grants of $500 each to attend the annual meeting. The exact number is set each year by the TOS Council. Potential winners will be selected from the ranking of the submitted abstracts and will need only to return a form signed by their institution acknowledging that the winner is either a graduate student or has received a PhD or MD within the past five years. A copy of the Pat Simons acknowledgment form is available on the TOS website here.

Submission Deadlines
Candidates must submit abstracts via the submission site by the regular abstract deadline of June 15, 2013. All additional materials are due to TOS' national office by June 20, 2013 at 5 p.m. ET. Materials may be submitted via email to annualmeeting@obesity.org or via faxed to 240-485-1977.

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ObesityWeek℠ Partners Announce Bruce M. Spiegelman, PhD, as Opening Keynote Speaker
TOS
ObesityWeek℠ partners are pleased to announce Bruce Spiegelman, PhD, as opening keynote speaker for this year's event! Dr. Spiegelman is a Stanley J. Korsmeyer Professor of Cell Biology and Medicine at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School and will be presenting, Transcriptional Control of Brown and Beige Fat: Toward a New Generation of Therapeutics, on Wednesday, Nov. 13 from 8:00 a.m. - 9:15 a.m.

Dr. Spiegelman is the lead scientist of the Harvard group that has conducted revolutionary research in obesity. His team is credited with the discovery of PPARgamma, the master transcriptional regulator of fat cells and beige fat cells, a new type of thermogenic cell. He has also identified a new hormone produced during exercise, irisin, which facilitates the transformation of white fat into brown fat.

During his keynote address, Dr. Spiegelman will speak to the therapeutic application of irisin and other novel "browning" factors, and his many other groundbreaking findings. Be sure to not miss his presentation during the opening of the Scientific Sessions at ObesityWeek℠ 2013!

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New Pre-conference Session: Mechanisms in Weight Loss Therapies
TOS
TOS is pleased to announce that a new pre-conference session, Mechanisms by Which Weight Loss Therapies Improve the Health of Patients, was recently added to the 2013 ObesityWeek℠ pre-conference series. This workshop, presented by key opinion leaders in obesity medicine, will help attendees better understand the mechanisms by which weight loss therapies may improve the health of patients. Find out more here about topics and faculty, or register directly at www.obesityweek.com.
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Message from TOS Council: New Development Policy Will Improve Efforts to Combat Obesity
TOS
As obesity and overweight continues to impact two-thirds of adults across the United States, and many more around the globe, it's vital that the research and treatment community regularly evaluates and adjusts its development policies to help improve the quality of life for those affected. To that end, TOS recognizes the need to look beyond traditional horizons and partner with new organizations and individuals to positively impact obesity.

We have updated our development policy to meet this need and are introducing changes that allow us to partner with the widest possible range of organizations and individuals interested in supporting our mission. We feel these changes are not only necessary, but will truly support our work in research, education, advocacy and action to combat obesity and positively impact the lives of millions of people. Efforts to combat obesity cannot succeed without the engagement of the many industries that have the power to positively impact the health of billions of people.

You can view the development policy in full on the TOS website here. If you have any questions about the policy or would like to make suggestions for individuals, companies or organizations we should consider contacting, please email: development@obesity.org.

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First Study Shows Overweight and Obese Youth Can Lose Weight from Active Videogames, or Exergames
TOS
While most parents have to compete with the videogame console to ensure their kids get enough exercise, new, groundbreaking research published in the scientific journal, Obesity, makes an argument for a certain kind of video game: active videogames, also known as exergames. These games are a form of exercise and rely on technology to track the body’s movement and reaction.

The goal of the study, "Adolescent Exergame Play for Weight Loss and Psychosocial Improvement: A Controlled Physical Activity Intervention," was to identify effective ways to encourage adolescents to be more physically active through videogames. Researchers, including Amanda Staiano, PhD, of Pennington Biomedical Research Center (Baton Rouge, La.), Sandra Calvert, PhD, and Anisha Abraham, MD, of Georgetown University (Washington, D.C.), found that, not only do exergames support weight loss for this population, but that when adolescents work together as a team, they are more effective in using this technological tool to lose weight. Read the full press release on the study here.

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Obesity Prevention Can Have Long-Term Budget Impacts for Public Programs
TOS
Certain types of obesity prevention policies aimed at children could save the federal government more than $40 billion over a lifetime, according to a new economic report from the Campaign to End Obesity. The report, released on April 24 and conducted by Alex Brill CEO of Matrix Global Advisors, highlighted the economic imperative of addressing the obesity epidemic. It illustrated the importance of looking at the long-term budget impact of preventive health policies, specifically aimed at obesity prevention, and recommended that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) revise its current approach to estimate the costs of federal policies over a 75-year period. Brill found that Medicare and Medicaid programs would benefit the most through the federal savings generated from avoiding obesity-related diseases and co-morbidities. Find out more in the full report here.
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New Study Shows Screen Time and BMI Tie for Mid-to-Late Adolescents
TOS
A study in the latest edition of Obesity by Jonathan Mitchell and colleagues from the University of Pennsylvania was the first study to evaluate the relationship between screen time and changes in BMI in a mid-to-late adolescent population. The study found that participants with greater daily screen time had greater increases in BMI. Adolescents in the top three BMI categories (50th percentile, 75th percentile, and 90th percentile) who had more screen time had significant increases in BMI. Study investigators suggest that reduced screen time could lower the prevalence of adolescent obesity, particularly among those adolescents who were already overweight or obese. Read the Obesity journal online to check out this article and the many others here.
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TOS 2013 Awards Call for Nominations — Submit by May 13
TOS
TOS Awards Program promotes, rewards, and encourages research in the field of obesity. Awards will be presented at ObesityWeek℠ 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia, Nov.11-16. Nominations are now being accepted for the following awards:
  • 2013 Atkinson-Stern Award for Distinguished Public Service
  • 2013 George A. Bray Founders Award
  • 2013 Lilly Scientific Achievement Award
  • 2013 Mickey Stunkard Lifetime Achievement Award
  • 2013 TOPS Research Achievement Award
Self-nominations will not be accepted and nominations must be supported by at least two members of The Obesity Society. Click here to see a list of previous award recipients. TOS Awards Committee will review nominations and the winners will be announced July 2013.

Descriptions of each award can be found here, as well as instructions on how to submit a nomination. If you have questions, please contact Sadie Campbell, Governance and Executive Assistance at scampbell@obesity.org or 301-563-6526.

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Early-Career Investigator Roundtable Breakfast at ObesityWeek℠
TOS
TOS' Early-Career Investigator Committee invites all early-career investigators, including students, trainees, postdoctoral fellows, junior faculty members, and new investigators to our Roundtable Breakfast at ObesityWeek℠. The breakfast will provide early-career investigators an opportunity to dine with senior investigators and discuss topics such as: identifying funding opportunities, balancing responsibilities, developing networking strategies, and selecting a next career step. Breakfast is provided free of charge by the Early-Career Investigator Committee.

The Roundtable Breakfast will be held on Thursday, Nov. 14 from 7:00 to 8:30 a.m. Make sure to reserve a space when you register for ObesityWeek℠.

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OBESITY IN THE NEWS


Study: Doctors feel less connected to obese patients
HealthDay News
Obese people who think health care workers aren't as sympathetic to them as they should be may be right. A new study suggests that doctors don't have as strong an emotional connection with overweight patients compared to slimmer ones.
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Obesity and weight management: How much weight loss is actually necessary?
The Motley Fool
Arena Pharmaceuticals and VIVUS both had obesity drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2012, and are two of the most contentious stocks on the market today. The high rates of obesity in America underscore the potential opportunities these companies have, but investors may not completely understand how physicians actually treat this disease. For instance, are medications really a necessary part of treatment? Are lifestyle changes more important, and can obesity be cured?
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Fighting obesity long term will save money
MedPage Today
A longer-term budget window for projecting costs in obesity prevention efforts might save the government more money, a modeling analysis found. The 10-year window used by the Congressional Budget Office to estimate costs of proposed federal legislation is often too short for assessing the long-run financial impact of policies involving chronic diseases such as obesity.
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Facebook interests could help track and map obesity
UPI
Data on social network users' interests, active versus sedentary, can help predict obesity rates in U.S. cities and towns, researchers say. Study leader Rumi Chunara and John Brownstein of Boston Children's Hospital's Informatics Program said the amount of data available on social networks like Facebook makes it possible to carry out research efficiently in cohorts of a size that has to date been impractical.
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When weight is disabling
Chicago Tribune
Lisa Harrison weighed 527 pounds on the day she was fired from her job at a Louisiana drug addiction treatment center. The 5-foot-2-inch Harrison, who believed her employer considered her "disabled" due to her weight, filed a discrimination charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. In a groundbreaking ruling in 2011, the court sided with Harrison, who died as a result of her morbid obesity at age 48 — before the case was resolved. The judge found that severe obesity may qualify as a disability, regardless of the cause.
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How to tell if you've got a fat future
MSN
You can tell a lot from a guy's breath: how much garlic he piled on his plate, how many beers he had at the bar, and now — whether or not he'll be overweight. The breath test is years from being clinically available, but there are a few other ways your doctor can tell right now if you're prone to pack on pounds. Not all these factors are frequently assessed, so if you notice your weight start to creep up — especially if you're not eating more or exercising less — you may want to ask your doctor about one of these four things.
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Key shift in brain that creates drive to overeat identified
Science Daily
A team of American and Italian neuroscientists has identified a cellular change in the brain that accompanies obesity. The findings could explain the body's tendency to maintain undesirable weight levels, rather than an ideal weight and identify possible targets for pharmacological efforts to address obesity.
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Study: Neural implant could curb overeating
The Huffington Post
The brain may not seem like an obvious place to look for possible treatments for obesity, but researchers say implanting a device that stimulates a specific region of the brain may help curb the compulsion to overeat. The new study on obese mice found that deep brain stimulation, which involves implanting a device that sends electrical impulses to precise targets in the brain, may reduce binge eating and other obesity-related behaviors.
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Should California pass a soda tax?
Los Angeles Times
Should the state play a role in preventing obesity among its residents? State Sen. Bill Monning, D-Carmel, has introduced legislation that would levy a 1-cent-per-ounce tax on sweetened beverages, including sodas, as part of an effort to fight obesity among young people. The measure is meant to discourage people from consuming sweetened drinks, and the money collected would pay for a statewide childhood obesity prevention program through a Children's Health Promotion Fund.
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Plate-cleaning can backfire
SheKnows
Telling your child to eat all the food on his or her plate may work when he or she is a young kid, but the practice can lead to obesity as the child grows. This is according to a new University of Minnesota report, which found that up to two-thirds of parents still encourage teens to clean their plates — even if the child is overweight.
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Young obesity doubles death risk before 55
Agence France-Presse
Men who are obese in their early 20s are twice as likely as peers of average weight to die before reaching the age of 55, according to a new study. Writing in the journal BMJ Open, a team of researchers reported on a 33-year study of 6,500 Danish men who were 22 years old in 1955.
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