The Obesity Society eNews
May. 27, 2015

Obesity doesn't discriminate; neither should state health plans
More than one-third of Americans have obesity. However, many lack access to the medical treatments needed to address the disease, even if recommended by their healthcare professional, as such services are often excluded by their insurance plan.

Currently 28 states exclude coverage for bariatric surgery and 45 states exclude FDA-approved obesity medications in their state exchange plans sold as part of the Affordable Care Act.

TOS and our partners in the Obesity Care Continuum urge state leaders to support patient access to, and coverage of, evidenced-based and medically necessary obesity treatment services under the state’s health exchange essential health benefits (EHB) package for 2016.

We welcome you to join us by sending a letter to your Governor.More

Deadlines approaching: Grant applications & Journal Symposium submissions
Deadlines are approaching to submit your applications for the following:

  • May 30 — LOIs for the 2015 Early Career Grant Challenge
  • May 30 — LOIs for 2015 Mid-Career Research Grant
  • June 1 — Papers for the Obesity Journal Symposium at ObesityWeek 2015
  • ObesityWeek 2015 registration opens in June! Keep your eyes on the horizon for upcoming dates and deadlines.More

    Reaching beyond lifestyle interventions to effectively address obesity
    In a recent letter to U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, MD, TOS President Nikhil Dhurandhar, PhD, thanked Dr. Murthy for his commitment to addressing obesity and expressed interest in working with him to identify solutions. Dr. Dhurandhar reinforced the need to look beyond lifestyle interventions to support the more than a third of the population already affected by obesity.

    "We agree that more needs to be done to address obesity at the community level by providing more guidance and resources, so people have a better understanding of where and how to lead healthier lives," said Dr. Dhurandhar in the letter. "However, we feel that much more is needed to address the obesity epidemic that goes beyond preventive efforts that include diet, exercise and weight management."

    "Given the enormous public health crisis obesity represents, we urge your continued work to address the epidemic and hope you will consider incorporating information about the importance of the research and treatment of the disease in your future work," Dr. Dhurandhar continued.

    Read more in the full letter here. More

    Apply now for the Obesity and Cancer Section's Susan G. Komen ObesityWeek travel award
    Contributed by the Obesity & Cancer Section
    Continuing the tradition of last year, the Obesity and Cancer (O&C) Section will convene a competition for travel support for three TOS members who plan to attend ObesityWeek 2015 in Los Angeles, Nov. 2 - 7. The award decision will be based on the scientific quality of the abstract, the relevance to breast cancer and the travel need. A panel of senior O&C Section members will select the recipients upon review of submitted abstracts, and inform the winners in advance by email.

    To qualify, applicants must be:

    1. At the rank of Junior Faculty (up to and including Assistant Professor)
    2. Currently pursuing independent research
    3. A current TOS and O&C Section member, or become a member prior to receiving the award
    4. In attendance at the 2015 O&C Section meeting at ObesityWeek 2015
    Applications must include the following elements:
    1. A short proposal (limited to 300 words) describing the applicant's research and its relevance to breast cancer, and how attending ObesityWeek will advance his or her professional, educational and research objectives
    2. NIH biosketch of applicant
    The application deadline is July 1, 2015. To apply, send your materials to Shameeka Green at

    These awards are generously funded by the Susan G. Komen Foundation.More

    Protein breakdown is compromised in muscle cells from individuals with severe obesity
    Contributed by Lauren M. Sparks, PhD
    In a recent study in Obesity, Dr. Jeffrey Brault and Lance Bollinger, PhD, investigated whether the breakdown of proteins in muscle cells from individuals with severe obesity could account (in part) for the compromised metabolism that has been observed in these individuals. Using cells that were grown from muscle tissue of both lean individuals and those with severe obesity, the authors were able to trace proteins in the petri dish as they disappeared (i.e. degraded). The team observed a significantly slower turnover of proteins in a pathway designed to eliminate dysfunctional members of the cell's metabolic machinery from those individuals with severe obesity. Furthermore, muscle cells from individuals with severe obesity also had a lower amount of cells that are engineered to burn more fat (the so-called "type I" fibers).

    The authors point to important differences in the management of protein breakdown in the muscle cells of individuals that are lean compared to those with severe obesity, which may explain the disturbances observed in the muscle's ability to burn fat and carbohydrates. The authors also highlight the fact that since these are muscle cells that are removed from the body, the differences are likely due to genetics or epigenetics. It is not clear the precise mechanisms by which protein breakdown and the cell's ability to burn fat and carbohydrates are linked. The authors therefore conclude that more detailed research into this link between protein management and fuel metabolism is warranted, as well as its relationship to the person's genetics and/or epigenetics.More

    Bullied kids at higher risk of adult obesity
    Contributed by HealthCentral
    The known mental effects of childhood bullying are devastating enough, but now British psychologists have assessed the effect bullying has on the weight and physical health of victims.

    The findings, published in the journal Psychological Medicine came from data by the British National Child Development Study. For the study, researchers collcted data on children born during one week in 1958 in the U.K. For the 7,102 children, the data refelcted their exposure to bullying during the ages of 7 and 11. Researchers found 28 percent had been bullied occasionally, and 15 percent were bullied frequently. When the children were followed up with at age 45, their blood inflammation measures and obesity were recorded. More

    Show your support for the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act of 2015

    TOS PA Chair Amanda Staiano, PhD, with Kevin Roig for Rep. Garret Graves (LA)
    Late last week, TOS members from the Public Affairs and Advocacy Committees converged on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. to advocate for obesity treatments. Earlier in the 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. TOS members who flew into Washington met with their own legislative representatives and urged them to sign on to the bill.

    If you'd like to express your support for the bill, you can send a pre-written form message to both your Senators and local Representative urging them to cosponsor and support final passage of this important legislation. We strongly encourage you to include your personal story into the content of the form message to help your legislators better understand the need for expanding access to these critical obesity treatment tools. Thank you for your support!More

    Never miss a session with ObesityWeek On Demand — order now and save $600
    ObesityWeek on Demand contains approximately 120 hours of presentations sponsored by The Obesity Society (TOS) and American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) covering a multi-track schedule of topics including abstract presentations, partner symposia, educational courses, video sessions and more. Order now and save $600 off the regular price. More

    Weight training's benefits may depend on genetics
    How well resistance exercises work may depend on a woman's genetic risk for obesity, new research suggests. Strength-building workouts seem to be most effective for those with a low genetic risk for a high body-mass index, the study found. BMI is a rough estimate of a person's body fat — the higher the number, the more fat a person has.More

    Study: 61 percent of your calories are from highly processed food
    As much as Americans like to pretend to worship at the altar of kale, many of us are cheating with chips, a new study suggests. We like junk food so much that 61 percent of the food Americans buy is highly processed, according to research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. And almost 1,000 calories a day of person's diet come solely from highly processed foods.More

    Can a new drug brown the fat and trim obesity?
    Los Angeles Times
    New research has found that a variant of a drug used to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension prompts weight-loss in obese mice. Among mice fed a high-fat diet, those who did not get the medication became obese while medicated mice did not, the same study showed. The experimental drug used, a stimulator of soluble guanylyl cyclase, is a member of the same class of novel drugs as the drug riociguat, which was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2013 as a treatment for high blood pressure in the blood vessels that lead to the heart from the lungs. The drug, produced by Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals, is marketed as Adempas.More

    How to head off kids' summer weight gain
    USA Today
    School's out or about to be out around the nation. In an ideal world — one many adults say they remember — kids would spend the next three months swimming, biking and running around outside. Each evening, they would come home to nutritious family dinners. In the real world, lots of kids will spend the summer watching more TV, playing more video games and, possibly, getting even less exercise than they do during the school year. Despite the dismal reputation of school food, many will eat junkier diets too.More

    Skipping meals promotes belly fat storage, increases risk for insulin resistance
    Medical Daily
    Anyone looking to lose weight knows they have to restrict the amount of calories they consume, but how much and when they restrict those calories can make all the difference. A recent study conducted at Ohio State University has revealed that skipping meals not only leads to abdominal weight gain, but it can also lead to the development of insulin resistance in the liver.More

    What is metabolic syndrome? Over 1/3 of Americans at risk of obesity-related health problems
    International Business Times
    More than a third of Americans suffer from a cluster of health problems — collectively classified as "metabolic syndrome" — that put them at an elevated risk of heart diseases, hypertension and diabetes, among a plethora of other diseases. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the prevalence of metabolic syndrome in the U.S. increased to nearly 35 percent in 2011-2012 from an earlier 33 percent in 2003-2004.More

    Analysis: Most patients prescribed Qsymia as intended
    Adults assigned the weight-loss drug Qsymia are mostly women and white, with a large percentage also taking medications for diabetes and hypertension, according to study findings. In a prospective, pharmacoepidemiologic database study, researchers analyzed electronic data of patients prescribed Qsymia (phentermine/topiramate extended-release capsules, Vivus), a weight-loss drug intended for patients with a BMI of at least 30 kg/m2, and concluded that the drug is being prescribed as intended.More

    Is the Berkeley soda tax working? Anti-obesity law makes $116K in revenues in 1st month
    International Business Times
    A penny in tax for every ounce of soda sold in Berkeley, California, is adding up, generating $116,000 in its first month, say city leaders. The tax, the first of its kind in the nation, aims to discourage people from drinking soda, energy drinks and other sweetened beverages to stem rising rates of obesity, diabetes and related health problems.More