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Obesity 2012 opened with keynote debate
Sonja K. Billes    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
This year's conference opened with a debate on the role of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) in obesity. Both arguments touched on an underlying and timely question: What is the appropriate application of public policy in curbing the rising incidence of obesity?

Dr. Frank Hu provided evidence that decreasing SSB consumption will reduce the prevalence of obesity, while Dr. David Allison offered the dissenting opinion. Dr. Hu cited studies showing a significant association between increased SSB consumption and body weight gain among adults and children. Dr. Allison argued that correlation does not imply causation. A recurring theme in both arguments is a recent meta-analysis of 6 studies on the effect of SSBs on body weight by Mattes et al., 2011, which showed that consuming SSBs resulted in dose-dependent weight gain. However, removal of SSBs did not reduce BMI.

Ultimately, this debate comes down to a matter of public policy, as discussed by this year's recipient of the George A. Bray Founders Award, Dr. James O. Hill. Dr. Hill highlighted the idea that singling out one factor, such as consumption of SSBs, is no way to target diseases like obesity that are comprised of numerous behavioral and environmental issues. While reducing consumption of SSBs may help some individuals curb weight gain, we're only chipping away at the tip of the iceberg. As to whether you should cut back on SSBs? Dr. Louis Aronne asks, "What are you going to give your kids?" The current science may still be debatable, but I don't think even Dr. Allison would deny where it's headed.

Enthusiastic response to TOS review course for the ABOM Exam
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"The speakers are great!" was a comment heard repeatedly throughout this two-day Precon course. Over 100 people attended this course to prepare for the ABOM exam.

Advocates fan the flame of progress in obesity policy
Gwyn Cready, TOS Advocacy Committee Member    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Citing programs such as breast feeding education, salads to schools, menu labeling and procurement, and the new obesity management certification for physicians, the panel of experts at this Advocacy Forum agreed we are making progress both in the use of evidence to drive obesity policy and in tackling obesity itself, but that there is still much work to do and that we need to "fan the flames" to increase the speed of change.

The Forum, which was intended to discuss the gap in obesity between what we know and what we do and explore the prospects for closing it, attracted a large and intent audience. The panel, moderated by Ted Kyle, R.Ph., and made up of William Dietz, M.D., Ph.D., Rebecca Puhl, Ph.D., Scott Kahan, M.D., and Donna Ryan, M.D., walked attendees through evidence-based efforts underway to fight obesity as well as some efforts which seem to be effective but have not been fully measured.

Audience members asked about the likelihood of insurers paying for effective treatments such as surgery and how to push for more evidence to support interventions that seem to be helping. The level of optimism over progress varied, but everyone agreed that the efforts discussed by panelists were encouraging and more work needs to be done.

Talks highlight recently published work in JAMA and NEJM
Sonja K. Billes    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
During a special session Friday afternoon, authors of papers published in special obesity-themed issues of JAMA (provided with the TOS final program) and NEJM, presented their work.

Three papers were presented from the September 19 edition of JAMA. Dr. Adams presented data on the health benefits of gastric bypass surgery after 6 years, showing that gastric bypass surgery was associated with long-term remission of diabetes, hypertension and abnormal lipids. Dr. Davis presented evidence showing that even 20 minutes of vigorous exercise per day without any dietary restriction is sufficient to reduce diabetes risk in overweight and obese children, and produced a dose-dependent reduction in fatness. Dr. Neeland presented work demonstrating an association between visceral fat and weight gain (most likely gain of visceral fat) among those already obese and incident prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. Additionally, factors that contribute to cardiovascular disease were present well before diabetes diagnosis. Talks from the September 21 issue of NEJM continued Friday's discussion of the role of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) in obesity. Dr. Qi presented data showing that high genetic risk for obesity exaggerates the association between SSB consumption and BMI. Dr. Katan and Dr. Ebbeling showed that reducing consumption of SSBs among children and adolescents is associated with reduced total caloric intake and slower weight gain.

Dr. Livingston, who edited this week's edition of JAMA, stated that the high degree (93 percent) and length of follow up in the study presented by Dr. Adams are common characteristics of the type of study that appeals to editors in high profile medical journals.

Build it so they will come
By Martin Binks, Ph.D. — Binks Behavioral Health    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Are we creating evidence-based interventions that readily translate into practice settings? In a session chaired by Tim Church, M.D., Ph.D., we were encouraged to think a little differently about how we go about research involving diet and exercise interventions to reduce weight. According to Dr. Church, "Translational research has been a hot topic for 10 years, yet we are still struggling with what it is and how to do it." Paul Estabrooks, Ph.D. has some ideas.

In his Key Lecture, Do We Need a New Translational Paradigm? Bridging the Gap between Research and Practice, Dr. Estabrooks discussed the current research pipeline approach which begins with efficacy trials, moves to effectiveness and on through various forms of dissemination. He suggested that all too often in behavioral research we fail to take into account the end user of our "efficacious" interventions during the earliest stages of the research process, which can and often does result in poor implementation in practice settings. Factors that contribute to this can include patient acceptability, complexity of the intervention, training level of providers, cost and so forth. "For us to be able to achieve translation of effective strategies in practice settings we need to move away from typical research methods and designs to a more integrated research/practice model," said Dr. Estabrooks.

He went on to weigh the pros and cons of optimal efficacy and effectiveness needing to be achieved prior to implementation vs. being willing to accept less potent interventions that reach the widest possible audience quickly that can then be further refined to improve efficacy.

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How to get your paper published
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About 150 attendees got up early on Saturday to participate in this session with Editors from Obesity, JAMA and International Journal of Obesity. The Editors were accessible, giving tips on what types of publications they are looking for and how to increase chances of acceptance. All stressed the importance of reading and following the submission instructions. The cover letter can also be used to explain the fine points of why the paper is unique, important and of interest to the journal's audience. With acceptance rates ranging from 5 to 20 percent, authors need to carefully prepare submissions to optimize the chance for success. A lively interaction during the Q & A portion highlighted the value of access to these Editors for meeting attendees.

Environmental obesogens
Sonja K. Billes    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Environmental obesogens, such as nicotine, arsenic, bisphenol A (BPA), organic pollutants and even stress, are another item in the litany of potential contributors to obesity and diabetes. On Saturday, several speakers shared their continuing work on identifying the mechanisms through which environmental obesogens influence obesity and related diseases. Dr. Dolinoy presented work showing that BPA exposure can have epigenetic effects leading to changes in expression of genes involved in metabolism, while Dr. Styblo showed how he is studying the relationship between arsenic exposure and diabetes.

Dr. Schug highlighted how the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) is focused on identifying how exposure to environmental obesogens, especially early in life when developing systems are susceptible to permanent changes, can lead to obesity. "Exposure to a chemical as a child might lead to a life-long battle in keeping pounds off," he said. All speakers highlighted a common need to focus future research on the interaction between exposure to environmental obesogens and nutrition.

Looking ahead in the treatment of obesity
Cathy Nonas    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Saturday started with a great upbeat talk by Tom Wadden, Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, on the importance of lifestyle modification to reduce weight. Dr. Wadden is this year's recipient of the TOPS Research Achievement Award. Beginning with a prescient albeit depressing quote from one of the godfathers of obesity research, Mickey Stunkard, who said in 1958 that some people could lose weight but most would regain it, Dr. Wadden took us through the lifecycle of behavior modification to prove to us that although we still have a lot of work to do, our patients are doing better. Using the success of the Diabetes Prevention Program as a stepping stone, the Look AHEAD study created a model for intensive lifestyle intervention.

The design included 24 in-person meetings for the first 6 months and 2 meetings per month for the next 6 months, as well as monthly maintenance meetings. The results of the first 4 years from Look AHEAD showed that indeed, although some people do regain weight, the good news is that a significant number who lose 5 to 10 percent do keep some if not all weight off after 4 years with intensive lifestyle treatment. Furthermore, at 4 years, the cardiovascular risks were reduced. The results have been so promising that the recent CMS and U.S. Preventative Task Force guidances both include the importance of intensive lifestyle treatment for obesity. Although Mickey Stunkard's words still echo, it was good to hear that more than 50 years later, we can amend his words to say that although some will regain weight, many will not regain all of it.

Price policy and health
Sonja K. Billes    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Saturday's session included a new track, Policy. In the afternoon session, Dr. Alston presented data challenging the belief that farm subsidies contribute to obesity. In a talk about what we’ve learned from tobacco policy, Dr. Chaloupka outlined how low-income people are more responsive to changes in price, and that people are more likely to support a tax when it is used for prevention. Dr. Hawkes showed that there is scant evidence for an effect of food pricing on consumer choice. He echoed Dr. Chaloupka's finding that price affects food choices among low-income people, and that making unhealthy foods more expensive than their healthier alternatives may be a good place to start.

Early-Career Investigator Grant Review Program
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Are you an early-career investigator looking for more guidance on a grant you're preparing? If so, the Early-Career Investigator Grant Review Program is for you. The program, which is open to pre-doctoral students, post-doctoral fellows, and junior scientists who have held an independent faculty position (or equivalent) for ≤ 5 years and who are currently TOS members, provides the opportunity for early-career investigators to get feedback on the Specific Aims section of their grant from senior investigators in obesity research. Early-career investigators and senior investigators will be matched based on shared interests and availability. This year's deadline for submission of an application is November 14th. For more information and to download the application materials, visit:

Basic science section poster award
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The following posters were judged to be the best in the basic science field presented at Obesity 2012.
    116-P — CTRP3 Reduces Hepatic Triglyceride Accumulation in High Fat Fed Mice (Jonathan M. Peterson, Marcus M. Seldin, G.William Wong)

    294-P — Doubly-Labeled Water Estimates of Food Intake Is Positively Related to Activity in Attentional and Gustatory Brain Regions When Anticipating Palatable Food Receipt (Kyle S. Burger, Eric Stice)

1st annual Latin America affairs section poster award
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The following posters were selected as the ten best studies conducted in Latin América for their excellence in the science of obesity.
    115-PLeucine Supplementation in High-Fat Induced Insulin Resistant Rats Increased Adiposity and Lipogenesis on Subcutaneous Adipocytes (Francisco L. Torres-Leal, Ariclécio C. de Oliveira, Talita S. Farias, Patrícia Chimin, Andressa B. Lopes, Arnaldo H. de Souza, Rennan de Oliveira Caminhotto, Fabio Bessa Lima)

    138-PAction of Nicotinic Acid on Adiponectin and Leptin Production and Expression in 3T3-L1 Adipocytes Under Oxigen Deprivation (Renata Nakamichi, Erika Prates, Beata M. Quinto, Maria T. Zanela, Marcelo C. Batista)

    184-PAerobic Physical Training and Melatonin Acting Together Reduces Adiposity in Rats (André Ricardo G. Proença, Sandra Andreotti, Amanda Baron Campaña, Ariclécio C. de Oliveira, Rennan de Oliveira Caminhotto, Ana C. Silva, Fábio B. Lima)

    237-PMetabolic and Cardiovascular Effects of Genistein in Obese Female Rats With Hypoestrogenism. (Luis A. Lima, Karla González, Juventino Colado, Marbella Chavez, Guadalupe Bravo)

    238-PEffect of Lycopene Supplementation on Nox2 Gene Expression in Adipose, Cardiac and Hepatic Tissues from High-Fat Diet-Fed Rats (Renata A. Luvizotto, Andre F. Nascimento, Paula T. Presti, Natália C. Miranda, ÉriKa Imaizumi, Damiana T. Pierine, Camila Correa, Ana Lúcia A. Ferreira)

    245-PEffect of Hypercaloric, Coca-Cola and Fat-Rich Diets on Organ and Body Weight of Male Wistar Rats (Juventino Colado, Marbella Chavez, Patrick Mailloux, Luis A. Lima, Guadalupe Bravo)

    249-PShort-Term of Nutritional Overload Alters Metabolism-Related Gene Expression Profile in Hepatic Tissue of Wistar Rats (Andre F. Nascimento, Renata A. Luvizotto, Camila Correa, Aline O. Martins, Tamiris Oliveira, Cintia Miyake, Antonio Cicogna)

    290-PObesity Induced By High-Fat Diet Modifies Rat Hypothalamic Proteome (Regina L. Watanabe, Amanda P. Pedroso, Mônica M. Telles, Maria Claudina C. Andrade, Claudia O. Nascimento, Lila M. Oyama, Jose C. Rosa, Dulce E. Casarini, Eliane B. Ribeiro)

    546-PEvaluation of Anthropometric Measurements That Affects Respiratory Muscle Strength in Obese Women (Marcela C. Barbalho-Moulim, Gustavo P. Miguel, Eli Maria Pazzianotto-Forti, Dirceu Costa)

    781-PObesity and Total Cholesterol Are Predictors of Ultrasound Vascular Endothelial Abnormalities in Children (Arturo Herrera-Rosas, José Damián Carrillo Ruiz, Esther Ocharan, Ana Luisa Sesman Bernal, Joselín Hernández Ruíz, Juan Carlos Lopez-Alvarenga, Araceli Arellano-Plancarte)

eHealth/mHealth section 1st annual poster award
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The following five abstracts were judged to be the best in the eHealth/mHealth field from posters accepted at this year's conference. We recognize the authors' excellence in science and contribution to this growing field of research and practice.
    325-PFacebook Participation During a Worksite Program Is Associated With Greater Weight Loss (Kasia Burton, Sheri Wells-Chesley, Kristin Reimers)

    308-PExamining Non-usage Attrition in an eHealth Weight Loss Intervention (Ilana B. Schriftman, Sandy Askew, Gary G. Bennett)

    313-PInnovative Technology to Improve Patient Adherence to Physician Weight Loss Recommendations (Graham Thomas, Tricia M. Leahey, Katelyn M. Gettens, Rena R. Wing)

    366-PSelf-Monitoring on the Go: Mobile App Self-Monitoring is Related to Increased Energy Expenditure, Decreased Energy Intake, and Weight Loss (Gabrielle Turner-McGrievy, Michael Beets, Justin B. Moore, Andrew Kaczynski, Daheia J. Barr-Anderson, Deborah F. Tate)

    383-PEfficacy of Web-Based Self-Care Lifestyle Modification Program For Weight Loss in Type 2 DM Patients (Kanji Akai, Kathy Kleyn, Hideto Takase, Paul Tutt, Neal D. Kaufman)


TOS practice exam is live
TOS    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Visit us at and click the Certification tab to access the exam. The practice exam includes questions, answers and references and is designed to help physicians prepare for the Obesity Medicine Certification Exam. There is a $50 fee to access the exam.

Congratulations to our new TOS Fellows
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Lee Ming Chuang, Ph.D.
National Taiwan University Hospital

Joseph Skelton, M.D.
Wake Forest School of Medicine

Leah Whigham, Ph.D.

Capitol update
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Please click here to read the Monthly Advocacy Newsletter of The Obesity Society.

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Percentage of severely obese adults skyrocket
USA Today    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The percentage of American adults who are 100 or more pounds over a healthy weight has skyrocketed since 2000, a recent study shows. In 2010, about 6.6 percent of adults in this country were severely obese — about 15.5 million people — up from 3.9 percent in 2000, says the study from the RAND Corp., a nonprofit research group. More

The sugar wars: Science's fierce, geeky debate over soda
The Awl    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The debating season may be presidential, but if the spectacle of super-sized pandering served with an unlimited salad bar of platitudes, slogans, and empty promises strikes you as strangely unfulfilling, there is always academia, where, sometimes, the politics are as equally vicious because the stakes are equally as high. Such was the case in San Antonio recently, at the Obesity Society's 30th annual meeting, the premier scientific conference in the US on what is, arguably, the nation's most pressing health problem. More

Medication use higher among overweight, obese kids
Medical Xpress    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Overweight children are far more likely to take prescription medications than children of a normal weight — a trend that adds to already higher health care costs for treating childhood obesity, according to new research from the University of Alberta. Researchers from the School of Public Health analyzed the medication use of more than 2,000 Canadian children through the 2007 to 2009 Canadian Health Measures Survey. They found that overweight and obese kids aged 12 to 19 years were 59 per cent more likely than their normal-weight peers to take prescription medication. More

Report: Immune system protein can fight obesity
Medical News Today    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
According to the report published in Immunity, by Marie Curie Fellow and Lydia Lynch from Trinity College, Dublin Ireland, along with experts from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre and St. Vincent's University Hospital, invariant natural killer T-cells, immune cells that fight malignancy, disappear when humans become overweight, but can be restored after losing weight. More

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Obese brain may block ability to lose weight
Medical Daily    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
According to a new study, the reason for failed weight-loss attempts may lie in the fact that unhealthy diets may physically change the brain in order to make weight loss more difficult. The study was conducted by Terry Davidson, now the Director of American University's Center for Behavioral Neuroscience, and colleagues at Purdue University in Indiana. More

Kids, media and obesity: Too much 'screen time' can harm your child's health
Chicago Tribune    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A recent study released in Pediatrics looks at mounting research showing that a child's media use may be linked to their body weight, not only due to the fact that they don't get as much exercise if they're watching T.V. and using other media, but also due to other issues related to media exposure. More

Advertisers put obese people in the spotlight
USA Today    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Obese people are showing up in the very place that's mostly excluded them for decades: ads. Some of the nation's largest brands — from Nike to Subway to Blue Cross Blue Shield — are featuring images of obese or overweight folks in their advertising in a bid to change consumer behavior. More

CDC on obesity: Public health or politics?
MedPage Today    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The CDC has operated generally with bipartisan support for several decades regardless of who was in the White House or which party controlled Congress. Campaigns targeting the issues the CDC has championed were funded and backed with little objection. Its hallmark issues have varied little with the political ideology of whichever party controlled Washington. But now, projects the CDC funds are gaining increased attention from Republicans in Washington, who are saying the CDC's latest efforts are blurring the line between lobbying and what a federal agency can support. More

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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