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US Congress moves to treat and reduce obesity
Letter from the President
Dear Colleagues,

I'm pleased to share some exciting news with you regarding federal efforts to improve access to evidence-based obesity treatments. This past week, Senators Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Tom Carper (D-DE) and Representatives Eric Paulsen (R-MN) and Ron Kind (D-WI) introduced the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act of 2015. This legislation will provide Medicare recipients and their health care providers with meaningful tools to treat and reduce obesity by improving access to obesity screening and counseling services, and new prescription drugs for chronic weight management. This is the first step to encouraging all public and private health plans to cover evidence-based obesity treatment services.

I'd like to thank The Obesity Society leaders and student members from both the Advocacy and Public Affairs Committees who traveled to Washington last week to talk with their members of Congress about this important legislation: Amanda Staiano, PhD, Bruce Wolfe, MD, Chris Ochner, PhD, Diana Thomas, PhD, Emily Dhurandhar, PhD, Ted Kyle, RPh, Ann Nduati and Blanca Mendez. Certainly, their efforts, along with those of the many others who have visited Congress this year as part of the Obesity Care Continuum, are integral to ensuring our federal legislators understand the imperative to treat obesity as a disease.

You can join them in supporting this bill, which is key to future efforts to further broaden access to evidence-based obesity treatments. I encourage you to send a letter to both your Senators and local Representative — urging them to cosponsor and support final passage of this legislation. We strongly encourage you to share your personal story in your letter to help your legislators better understand the need for expanding access to these critical obesity treatment tools.

Thank you in advance for your support.


Nikhil Dhurandhar, PhD, FTOS
President, The Obesity Society

Find photos of last week's Advocacy Day on our Facebook page here.
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Get involved with TOS! Apply to join a committee today
TOS has a variety of committees that play an active role in assisting the Council in planning and administering the programs and activities that are at the heart of the Society's function. Committees (both standing and ad hoc) are responsible for studying issues, making recommendations, carrying out liaison activities, and implementing specific short-term projects approved by the Council. The Council urges interested TOS members to volunteer, and appreciates your assistance in this effort to increase the effectiveness and productivity of the Society's committees.

TOS members may submit self-nomination forms here. The deadline to apply is June 12, 2015.

Please note that membership requires a commitment to take the committee work seriously. At a minimum, committees meet each year during the Annual Scientific Meeting at ObesityWeek℠ 2015 and committee members attend this meeting at their own expense. Acceptance of appointment implies a commitment to attend these meetings and participate in conference calls. Committee terms are at least two years.

Because there are a limited number of available committee appointments that may be made each year, it is impossible to meet more than a fraction of the requests to serve. If you are not selected for the upcoming term, please consider submitting your name for the following year.

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Role of estrogen in regulating body weight
Contributed by Andrew Brown, PhD and Diana Thomas, PhD
Estrogen, often thought of simply as a sex hormone, is increasingly being recognized as important in regulating body weight in both male and female rodents. Research summarized in a recent review in the journal Obesity highlights advances in understanding which regions of the brain are responsible for the effects of estrogen on energy balance in rodent models of humans. Different parts of female mouse brains appear to react differently to estrogen, with some regions responding by decreasing food intake, and others stimulating energy expenditure through increased brown fat or physical activity. Although decreased energy intake and increased expenditure is also seen in male mice, the regions of the brain that respond to estrogen are not as well characterized.

The techniques used to study these mechanisms in rodents include advanced genetic methods to isolate the effects on specific cellular receptors in different portions of the brain. Unfortunately, these methods cannot be used in humans, highlighting the importance of animal research in determining the mechanisms of action of estrogen on the brain with respect to energy regulation.

Perturbing estrogen to facilitate weight loss in humans has been a challenge because of fears of potential endocrine problems and hormone replacement therapy-related cancer. The results from these rodent studies may help scientists design compounds that only activate estrogen's receptors in targeted locations, with hopes of harnessing the benefits while avoiding potential side effects. This work reifies that much is yet to be learned about influences on energy balance, despite frequent simplistic messages to the contrary.

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Take our Survey! Where do you get your news?
We'd like to find out more about where you get your obesity-related news. Please take a minute to fill out the following poll.

My #1 resource for obesity-related news is:
  • Social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.)
  • Traditional print and online news sources (e.g., New York Times, The Washington Post)
  • Broadcast radio
  • TV news
  • Trade news outlets (e.g., MedPage Today, WebMD)
  • Blogs or newsletters (e.g., TOS eNews)
  • Colleagues, family or friends
  • Other [fill in the blank]

NIH/ODS announces new dietary supplement research funding opportunity
The Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) at the National Institutes of Health recently announced a new obesity-related funding opportunity with a focus on dietary supplements: PA-15-258 - Administrative Supplements for Research on Dietary Supplements (Admin Supp). This program is designed to provide supplemental funds to relevant, active, NIH-supported research projects to incorporate dietary supplement research that is within the scope of the parent project. According to ODS, research interests are not limited to specific health conditions, organ systems or populations groups. ODS supports all types of research, including pre-clinical, clinical, behavioral, and epidemiological. Additionally, ODS supports research that builds future research capacity for studying the role of dietary supplements in health and disease prevention.

According to ODS, primary consideration for support will be given to applications that stimulate dietary supplement research where it is lacking or lagging, clarify gaps, opportunities and balance between benefits and risks where data are in conflict, target special population groups where additional science on supplements is needed, and focus on the use of dietary supplements in improving or maintaining health and reducing the risk of chronic disease. Find out more about this opportunity and how to apply here.

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  FREE Banner & Business Listing, a modern online weight loss community, is coming! Get your business listed in our business directory for FREE and take advantage of our three-month FREE ADVERTISING BANNER program. No obligation -- just our way of saying hello to TOS and the online bariatric community! Learn more and SIGN UP HERE.

Are you connected with TOS on social media?
TOS is pleased to announce that we've reached a new milestone on social media! We’ve surpassed 10,000 likes on Facebook and 15,000 followers on Twitter.

You may have noticed that throughout the past few years, TOS has been hard at work to reach and engage with an even larger audience, and connecting on social media is key to our efforts. In fact, in 2014 we increased our social media connections by 55% — that's another large jump compared to the more than 56% increase in 2013!

We've also worked to create more visually oriented forms of engagement, through the development of infographics on obesity research and online videos. Check out our recent conversations with TOS leadership on our YouTube page, and several videos created to share the excitement of ObesityWeek on the conference's YouTube page.

If you’re not yet connected, it's easy:
  • Like us on Facebook
  • Follow us on Twitter
  • Join our group on LinkedIn
  • You can also help us take the message one step further by simply sharing your thoughts on various topics by commenting on our Facebook posts, re-tweeting our tweets and posting to our LinkedIn group. We look forward to continuing to work with you to share evidence-based information about obesity far and wide.

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    Do you know about these May 30 grant application deadlines?
  • Submit Letters of Intent for the 2015 Early Career Grant Challenge
    TOS early career members are encouraged to submit research to the new 2015 Early Career Grant Challenge. TOS will invite five finalists to pitch their research onstage at TOS's Opening Session of ObesityWeek 2015, where a panel of judges and the audience will select the winner. Each of the five finalists will receive complimentary registration to ObesityWeek 2015 and a $1,500 travel grant. The winner will receive a $40,000 research grant. Information regarding this grant and how to apply can be found here.
  • Submit Letters of Intent for the 2015 Mid-Career Research Grant
    For the first time this year, TOS offers three mid-career research grants funded through an unrestricted research grant from Novo Nordisk for up to $45,000 each for the 2015 grant period. TOS members are encouraged to apply. Information regarding this grant, areas of concentration for research, and how to apply can be found here.

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    Deadline June 1: Submit papers for the Obesity Journal Symposium at ObesityWeek 2015
    Don't forget: the editors of Obesity are looking for your best research for the 3rd Annual Obesity Journal Symposium, which will be held during ObesityWeek 2015 in Los Angeles, CA. All papers must be submitted for consideration by June 1. 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 will have their papers featured in a special section at the front of the November 2015 issue of Obesity. Both the Symposium and the 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. When submitting, instead of choosing "Original Article," select "Obesity Symposium" as your Manuscript Type. Follow the Author Guidelines for original articles. If your study is not chosen as a Symposium winner, it will still be published in the journal.

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

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    eHealth/mHealth Reading Corner
    Contributed by TOS eHealth/mHealth Section
    To keep the community up to date on the developments in this important area, TOS eHealth/mHealth section offers the eHealth/mHealth Reading Corner. This week's articles include:
    Rabbi M, Pfammatter A, Zhang M, et al. Automated Personalized Feedback for Physical Activity and Dietary Behavior Change With Mobile Phones: A Randomized Controlled Trial on Adults. JMIR Mhealth Uhealth. 2015;3(2):e42.

    King AC, Glanz K, Patrick K. Technologies to Measure and Modify Physical Activity and Eating Environments. Am J Prev Med. 2015 May;48(5):630-638.

    Ainara G, Aryannah U, Mazdak AS, et al. Assessment of a Mobile Game (“MobileKids Monster Manor”) to Promote Physical Activity Among Children. Games for Health Journal. April 2015, 4(2): 149-158.
    If you have an article you would like to share, we would love to hear from you! Please send article information to Danielle Schoffman (, and we’ll add it to the EMS Reading Corner Library.

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    Study finds obesity is costing Americans $92,235 per person
    Fiscal Times via MSN
    The alarming epidemic of obesity among Americans and its implications for rising public health costs have become a topic of endless fascination and speculation among public policy experts, academics and politicians. Now a complex new study says that the lifetime societal and public health cost of obesity is on average $92,235 per person when compared with the costs associated with a person of normal weight.
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    These are America's fittest cities
    Yahoo Health
    The annual report is in, listing the fittest — and most sedentary — cities in America. For the second year in a row, Washington, D.C., tops the list of the fittest U.S. cities, followed by Minneapolis-St. Paul, San Diego, Sacramento, and San Francisco, although Americans are exercising less overall. Indianapolis sank to the bottom of the list as the least active city in the country, followed by Memphis and Oklahoma City, according to the eighth annual American Fitness Index from the American College of Sports Medicine and the Anthem Foundation.
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    Study: Preschoolers aren't getting enough exercise
    Plenty of exercise is essential for a child's development and to prevent obesity. Even very young children in the U.S. are not active enough, says a new study. Preschoolers only get about 48 minutes of exercise on average each day, according to a paper by the University of Washington and published in the journal Pediatrics. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends kids get at least one hour of daily physical activity.
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    'Kid's Menu' makeover
    At many restaurants the "Kid's Menu" is an afterthought, but a new study says those eateries should think again. Researchers at Tufts University found that a healthier children's menu led to healthier ordering patterns and sustained restaurant revenue. "Over 350,000 meals were studied, and the children bought more healthy entrees and more healthy side dishes from this menu change," said Dr. Amanda Staiano, an assistant professor at Pennington Biomedical Research Center and public affairs chair for The Obesity Society.
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    How we store food at home could be linked to how much we eat
    Keeping food out of sight could be a way to keep it out of your mouth. That's the hunch of Charles Emery, a psychologist at Ohio State University, anyway. His latest research suggests that how food is set up around the house could be influencing how much people eat and, ultimately, how heavy they might be. There are a lot of factors that scientists say explain obesity — defined as a body-mass index over 30 — from genetics to lifestyle changes to socio-economic status.
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    Public support for classifying obesity a disease
    In a somewhat surprising outcome, Rebecca Puhl and Sai Liu have found substantial evidence of public support for the 2013 AMA decision to classify obesity as a complex, chronic disease. The majority of a robust national sample of 1,118 of U.S. adults agreed with 11 of 17 reasons favoring classification of obesity as a disease and agreed with only one of 16 reasons against it. Puhl and Liu found that people who agreed with statements favoring the classification were more likely to attribute obesity to physiological and environmental causes.
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    Are wellness programs right for your company?
    Fox News
    Workplace health initiatives — ranging from flu shots to support groups to stress management — are on the rise. Such programs can increase productivity and morale, as well as possibly reduce insurance premiums. But what are the risks for employers, and what is the ROI? Is wellness right for your company?
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    Dairy Queen takes fizz out of kids' menu, becomes latest fast food chain to cut soda
    New York Daily News
    Soda just got DQ'd. Dairy Queen will pull soda from its kids' menu. In the latest salvo against childhood obesity and diabetes, the fast food chain pledged to remove soft drinks from offerings to children by Sept. 1. The Minneapolis-based company with locations throughout the tri-state area announced the change in a Monday letter to the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
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    Don't let cyberbullying ruin fitness
    The Huffington Post
    YouTube sensation Whitney Thore gained international recognition after posting a video called "A Fat Girl Dancing: Talk Dirty." The video shows Whitney at 380 pounds trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Whitney was once a slim dancer, but over the course of just one year at college, she gained 200 pounds due to a condition called Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.
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    The Obesity Society eNews
    Mollie Turner, News Editor, The Obesity Society  
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    Colby Horton, Vice President of Publishing, 469.420.2601
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    Caitlin McNeely, Senior Editor, 469.420.2692   
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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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