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Obesity and Eating Disorders SIG Update

Jessica G. LaRose, PhD, Obesity and Eating Disorders SIG Outlook Liaison

The Obesity and Eating Disorders (OED) SIG is committed to fostering interdisciplinary research and training in the areas of obesity and eating disorders, and strives to support researchers and practitioners to be leaders in these areas. Many significant events have taken place since our meeting last year that are relevant to our mission. The American Medical Association announced that it will officially recognize obesity as a medical disease,1 and there have been strong movements toward the use of person-first language when describing individuals with obesity.2 In addition, new guidelines were recently published on the management of overweight and obesity in adults.3 In light of these recent events, the landscape for the treatment of obesity in clinical settings is rapidly changing. Our hope is that these changes will allow for increased access and reimbursement for evidence-based, integrated care for the millions of individuals with obesity. Under the leadership of our SIG leaders, Drs. Stephanie Fitzpatrick and Amy Gorin, our SIG is sponsoring a timely course at the upcoming meeting in Philadelphia titled "Integrated Care for Treatment of Obesity: Location, Logistics & Reimbursement." Presenters will include Drs. Gary Bennett, Rodger Kessler, Catherine Champagne, Elizabeth Estrada, Robert Kushner and Janelle Coughlin, and Jennifer Ventrelle. The course is Wednesday April 23rd from 12:00-2:45pm and will provide attendees with an overview as to how to develop and sustain an integrated care team focused on the treatment of patients with obesity. It promises to be an exceptional opportunity for those interested in developing or improving upon integrated care teams, and will address topics such as reimbursement and location of care that are particularly salient given recent policy and healthcare changes.

In addition to the Integrated Care course, the OED SIG is sponsoring several other events that should be of considerable interest. On Friday, we are sponsoring a symposium entitled "Mental Health Considerations for Optimizing Behavioral Weight Management Interventions with Obese Veterans" and will co-sponsor a debate at our midday meeting titled "Different Types of Behavior Require Different Theories to Explain Them." The debate is being organized as a joint effort between the OED SIG, the Theories and Techniques of Behavior Change Interventions (TTBCI) SIG, the Multiple Health Behavior Change (MHBC) SIG, and the Physical Activity SIG. Speakers will debate whether theories should be applied to all behaviors, or rather, whether theories should be designed to apply to a specific behavior or set of behaviors. Additionally, be sure to join us for our Breakfast Roundtable and business meeting Friday morning. We will be discussing relevant sessions at this year's meeting and soliciting interest for participation on an OED Executive Board. We're also excited to continue our tradition of recognizing outstanding research abstracts from our graduate student members. Last year we launched the Obesity and Eating Disorders SIG Graduate Student Research Award, and will offer these awards again this year. Three recipients will be selected based on the scientific merit and implications of their work. We are excited to offer these monetary awards as a reflection of our commitment to our young investigator and student members, and hope you will join us for the presentation of awards.

Of note, there are a host of other obesity and weight related sessions slated for the upcoming meeting. The Thursday schedule includes several symposia of interest, including "Mental Health Matters: Screening, Participation and Outcomes of Weight Management Programs for Veterans with Mental Health Conditions" and "Weight Loss in the Age of Social Media: Twitter, Facebook and Blogging." In addition, there is a paper session that will present findings related to social dynamics in dieting and weight loss, and two panel discussions titled "The Inclusion Challenge: How Can General Weight Loss Programs Accommodate the Needs of Women with Mobility Impairments" and "Funding Opportunities and Strategies for Diet, Physical Activity and Obesity Prevention." Friday is another busy day with many weight related activities on the schedule, including a Panel Discussion addressing policy efforts to reduce childhood obesity entitled "Using Health Policy to Successfully Reduce Childhood Obesity Rates: The Philadelphia Story." Later that afternoon, be sure to check out "Case Studies in Strategic Science to Inform Childhood Obesity Policy Interventions," and two paper sessions focused on very relevant topics, including the use of text messaging to promote physical activity and weight loss, as well as factors associated with weight loss maintenance." Don't leave early because Saturday morning there are several other paper sessions scheduled that are sure to be of interest - these sessions will focus on evaluation of weight loss interventions, multi-component intervention trials, and diet, activity and obesity among youth.

We are excited about the upcoming meeting and all the sessions available this year for those interested in obesity and weight related research. We look forward to seeing you in Philadelphia!

  1. American Medical Association. http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/news/news/2013/2013-06-18-new-ama-policies-annual-meeting.page
  2. Obesity Action Coalition. http://www.obesityaction.org/weight-bias-and-stigma/people-first-language-for-obesity
  3. Jensen MD, Ryan DH, Apovian CM, Ard JD, Comuzzie AG, Donato KA, Hu FB, Hubbard VS, Jakicic JM, Kushner RF, Loria C, Millen BE, Nonas CA, Pi-Sunyer FX, Stevens J, Stevens VJ, Wadden TA, Wolfe BM, Yanovski SZ. 2013 AHA/ACC/TOS guideline for the management of overweight and obesity in adults: a report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines and The Obesity Society. Circulation. 2013.