The Obesity Society eNews
Feb. 5, 2014

Letter from the Executive Director: Success in Social Media
Thanks for taking the time today to check out the latest news from The Obesity Society (TOS). In addition to reading our eNewsletter, we hope you're also regularly sharing news and information about obesity in your Facebook status updates, your Twitter posts and on your LinkedIn pages and groups.

You may have noticed that TOS has been working hard to reach and engage with an even larger audience, and connecting on social media is key to our efforts. In fact, during the past year, we've increased our connections by 5,600 — that's a more than 56% increase in just one year! We've also expanded onto new platforms, including Instagram, and are exploring other ways to better connect through social communities. More

Sixty-Seven TOS Members Secure ABOM Certification in 2013
We're pleased to congratulate the 67 TOS members who have secured their ABOM certification following the December 2013 exam, joining the elite field of ABOM diplomates. You can find a list of TOS ABOM diplomates here: 2013 & 2012. We hope you'll extend your applause to these accomplished physicians for making this commitment to treating patients affected by obesity. 

ABOM certification signifies excellence in the practice of obesity medicine and distinguishes a physician as having achieved a higher level of competency and understanding in obesity treatment by completing specialized education. Obesity medicine physicians meet rigorous qualification and assessment requirements. The next exam takes place December 6 – 13, 2014. Find out more here. More

TOS & IASO Are Seeking an Editor-in-Chief for New Obesity Journal
The Obesity Society and our partner, the International Association for the Study of Obesity (IASO), are recruiting a founding Editor-in-Chief for a new joint open-access obesity journal, published by Wiley. This new journal will publish original research, reviews and perspectives on all disciplines related to obesity.

Applications are welcomed from those working in the field of obesity, and the deadline for submitting your CV and cover letter is February 17, 2014. For full details please read the job description. More

Can Calling Obesity as a Disease Have a Negative Impact?
Despite recent research making the assertion, several TOS members suggest that flaws in the study's design, including the control group, raise questions about the conclusions. To test the impact of telling someone that obesity is a disease the researchers should not have compared the news article, which states obesity is a disease, with an article that provides specific weight-loss guidance. This design implies that telling an individual their obesity is a disease and telling them they have the responsibility and ability to make choices that will improve their health are mutually exclusive. In reality they are not. Considering obesity a disease does not eliminate the need to modify lifestyle for better weight management. For more information about obesity as a disease read TOS's whitepaper here.

Read more about the faulty research in this blog by TOS member, Ted Kyle, "Worst Headline: 'I Give Up, Pass the Pie'."More

Slow Uptake of People-First Language for Obesity in the Media
Contributed by Cheryl Vaughan, PhD
In a TOS position statement aimed at improving the adoption of "people-first" language for obesity, the Society reported that the media when referring to other diseases, such as cancer, has adopted people-first language, but the same is not seen in referring to people affected by obesity. Current journalistic resources also do not make this clarification. For example, the Associated Press' (AP) Stylebook, the journalist's go-to reference guide, has guidelines for use of people-first language when referring to people with autism, and intellectual and developmental disabilities and mental disorders, but not obesity. Further, in a recent Google web search done for "people with obesity," an article using the term "obese people" in the title was one of the first articles to appear.

While journalists often argue that using people-first language can seem "clumsy" and "wordy," research shows no difference in readability. Guth and Murphy (2013) found that when young readers in middle and high school read the same material with and without people-first language there was no difference in readability1.

These, among other findings by TOS's Advocacy Committee in a recent media audit, illustrate that enhanced efforts are needed to encourage media outlets, and others, to embrace the use of people-first language for obesity. As part of its work for 2014, the Committee is seeking to encourage journalists and media outlets to modify their style guidelines when referring to people with obesity.

1. Guth, L.J., & Murphy , L. People First Language in Middle and High Schools: Usability and Readability. In The Clearing House , Vol. 72, No. 2 (Nov. - Dec., 1998) , pp. 115-117 More

Different Methods of Weight Loss Lead to Different Changes in How the Brain Reacts to Food Cues
Contributed by Chris Ochner, PhD
A recent study by Bruce and colleagues the authors conclude that weight loss differentially changes brain functioning, specifically in areas known to be related to food motivation, the experience of hunger, and other aspects of self-referent processing. In the study, researchers compared changes in neural responsivity to palatable food cues from pre to post surgical vs. behavioral weight loss interventions. These comparisons were made in both fasted and fed states and the authors achieved the difficult task of matching surgical to behavioral weight loss over the same time period (12 wk). The surgical group underwent gastric banding surgery, while the behavioral weight loss group underwent a lifestyle modification program. Both groups were scanned (fMRI) pre intervention and 12 weeks later.

Two main differences emerged. In the fasted state, behavioral vs. surgical weight loss was associated with increased neural responsivity to food cues in the medial PFC, a region associated with valuation and processing of self-referent information. When fed, surgical vs. behavioral weight loss was associated with increased responses to food cues in the temporal cortex, a region associated with higher-level perception. Read the full article in the Obesity journal here.More

Financial Stress Can Increase Obesity Risk by 20%
Contributed by Susan Franks, PhD
There are unique challenges faced by socioeconomically disadvantaged groups for healthy nutrition and physical activity that are associated with higher rates of obesity for this population. A recent study published in the Obesity journal provides insight into what may be a fundamental aspect of economic deprivation that may better account for its relationship to obesity than income alone. Siahpush et al. conducted an analysis of prospective data from 7,787 respondents of the Household Income and Labor Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey. The authors derived a measure of prolonged financial stress from the 2008 and 2009 survey waves, and analyzed its association to obesity measured in 2010. After adjusting for baseline obesity and other common predictors, the authors found that individuals who experienced financial stress in both study years had a 20% higher risk of obesity in 2010 than individuals who did not experience similar financial stress. Income had no bearing on the relationship of financial stress to obesity risk.

This new research suggests that the inability to meet key financial obligations, regardless of income, may result in stress-related physiological and behavioral mechanisms linked to weight gain. Read the full article to find out more here. More

New Pathway Identified for Absorbing and Storing Dietary Fats
Contributed by Amin Khalifeh-Soltani, MD, MPH
Researchers at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) have identified a new pathway by which the body absorbs and stores dietary fats leading to the development of obesity. According to this research, the inhibition of this pathway has the potential to reduce weight gain, body fat, and insulin resistance.

Regulation of fatty acid uptake is essential given the role of fatty acids in energy storage, membrane formation, and cell signaling. The pathways that regulate uptake of fatty acids remain incompletely understood. Collectively, the results of this study imply a role for Mfge8 (Milk fat globule-EGF factor 8 protein (Mfge8), also known as lactadherin) in regulating the absorption and storage of dietary fats, as well as in the development of obesity and its complications. This work in the field of metabolism and lipid homeostasis indicates that an integrin-dependent pathway can be targeted to prevent the development of obesity and obesity-associated insulin resistance or to ameliorate fat malabsorption. Read more in the full paper published in Nature Medicine here. More

Webinar: Learn More About the ABOM Certification Exam
Interested in finding out more about the ABOM certification exam? Join the ABOM for a webinar about exam eligibility requirements and relevant dates in 2014. A Q&A will follow a brief presentation. Mark your calendars for one of two available options:

1. Feb. 21 at 10:00AM MST — Register here.
2. Feb. 21 at 12:00PM MST — Register here.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email with instructions to join the webinar. More

Obesity Society Members Have Access to IASO Benefits
Did you know that TOS members have access to the following benefits from the International Association for the Study of Obesity (IASO)?

Find out more at More

Get Involved with The Obesity Society eHealth/mHealth Section
TOS's eHealth/mHealth Section uses the rapid advancements in mobile technologies, wireless devices, and electronic media to enhance the prevention and treatment obesity. The Section leverages the expertise of researchers, software developers, engineers and clinicians to develop, test, and evaluate mobile technologies, social media, web-based interventions, and other new technologies for obesity prevention and treatment in clinical and public health settings. Success of these technologies depends on the varied expertise of many, so no matter your area of interest or level of experience, to Section invites you to join today! Find out more on the Section website here.

The Section currently has openings on it Steering Committee for the following positions:

We hope you'll consider nominating yourself and/or others for these positions. You can send nominations, including contact information and a brief bio (200 words) of the nominee to Donna Spruijt-Metz ( by February 26, 2014. More

Obesity is found to gain its hold in earliest years
The New York Times
For many obese adults, the die was cast by the time they were 5 years old. A major new study of more than 7,000 children has found that a third of children who were overweight in kindergarten were obese by eighth grade. And almost every child who was very obese remained that way.More

Added sugar in diet linked to death risk from heart trouble
Everyday Health
Doctors have long thought extra sugar in a person's diet is harmful to heart health because it promotes chronic conditions such as obesity and diabetes. But the added sugar Americans consume as part of their daily diet can — on its own, regardless of other health problems — more than double the risk of death from heart disease, a new study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found.More

Good news: Weekend splurging and weight loss can go hand in hand
Yahoo News
Feeling guilty for tucking into a pizza pie or pint of ice cream over the weekend? As long as you resume a sensible eating and exercise plan over the workweek, new research shows successful weight loss can be achieved even after splurging on the weekends.More

How a little chill in the air could help you lose weight
When it comes to tackling obesity, eating right and staying active are usually the way to go. But a research team in the Netherlands says there's an environmental factor that might help and that is often overlooked: the cold. We're not talking bone-chilling temperatures that'll make you shiver endlessly, but a milder cold between 62 and 77 degrees. More

Paternal obesity at time of conception can lead to overweight kids
Relaxnews via MSN
Trying to conceive a kid who's a chip off the old block? A newly published study out of Australia suggests that prospective fathers trim off excess love handles after finding that paternal obesity at the time of conception can likewise predispose offspring to becoming overweight. After years of focusing on the impact of a mother's health on unborn babies, the scientific community has begun to take notice of how a man's diet can likewise predict an offspring’s body weight and health — even as early as the time of conception.More

Endo type: Use bariatric surgery to battle obesity
MedPage Today
A series of review articles in the Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology calls for more widespread use of bariatric surgery to treat obesity. The publication's editors question why surgery is used only as "a last resort," when evidence has mounted that it has substantial metabolic and weight-loss benefits.More

3 major shifts in household food purchases
Household food purchases have shifted significantly in a healthy direction, according to a new study led by Shu Wen Ng and published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Ng used data from both NHANES and the Nielsen Homescan panel for the analysis. The analysis showed that between 2003 and 2011, calories purchased or reported consumed in the U.S. fell significantly. The size of the decline amounted to about 40 fewer calories per day.More

Obesity thresholds accurately predict adolescent health risk
Medscape (Login required)
Body mass index thresholds that identify adolescent obesity accurately predict metabolic health risk, according to a study published online in Pediatrics. Kelly R. Laurson, PhD, assistant professor, School of Kinesiology and Recreation, Illinois State University, Normal, and colleagues categorized 3385 adolescents according to presence or absence of metabolic syndrome and by their BMI as established under 2 standards: one from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the other from FITNESSGram, a commercial physical fitness assessment program for youth. More