The International Association for the Study of Obesity Newsletter

September 2012




Welcome to IASO's September Newsletter. We have lot's of exciting news in this issue including:


  • President's report; 
  • SCOPE School Cambridge 2012 embraces new techniques for practical management of obesity;   
  • Application deadline for the 10th STOCK Conference is extended;  
  • Free SCOPE e-learning sample modules;      
  • Download the latest papers from our leading journals;
  • Meet the Editors at The Obesity Society meeting; 
  • Updates on data in Mauritius, Nigeria, Portugal, Yemen and the UAE available from our Obesity Data Portal;     
  • Energy project publishes user-friendly report;
  • Bariatric surgery for children and adolescents - a WHO review;
  • Latest articles of Obesity in the News;  
  • Member Association News.  
President's Report
Philip James


IASO in Mexico

Despite the fact that August is usually a month when many Europeans take a break for holidays the obesity world does not stand still. I have just been to a conference in Mexico City organised in some way to link with an EXPO process. The conference, Expo-Cumbre Mundial de Diabetes, Obesidad, Nutrici´┐Żn y Problemas Cardiovasculares involved a host of organisations linked particularly to diabetes and nutrition, relating not only to Mexico but also to the whole of Latin America. The meeting was held in Mexico City's World Trade Centre and as I have set out elsewhere (read article) I was horrified by the huge emphasis of the meeting on having a dominant commercial exhibition selling all sorts of foods, concoctions for diabetes as well as drugs with a whole group of lay people coming in as part of the audience. Several of these lay members who attended my lectures could not understand why in setting out the clinical needs and preventive policies for obesity I was setting out principles of good nutrition and physical activity none of which were reflected in the overwhelming marketing of the exhibitors. These marketeers stopped me every metre of my way to the exit inviting me to sample their foods for diabetes or persuading me that some drug combination was the most appropriate.  


This general acceptance that the commercial world must not be challenged or constrained is not an unusual finding as I travel and seems in conflict with what, in theory, Latin American governments have been trying to do. Thus when I was in Mexico City last year for the Pan American Ministers of Health Conference on the need to cope with the epidemic of non communicable diseases and obesity in Latin America as well as North America and the Caribbean, it was obvious they were demanding action with obesity as the single illustration used by almost every main platform speaker. Their declaration highlighted the problem of obesity particularly in children and called for action (read declaration). In fact we need to recognise that there were more Latin American and Caribbean Heads of State at the first United Nations General Assembly's first ever meeting last September on what to do about the NCD epidemic than any other region.  


The Aruba meeting on childhood obesity

Some of you may remember that last year IASO was officially involved in a special conference in Aruba focusing on the problem of childhood obesity. This conference was the first Pan American Conference on Obesity, with special attention to Childhood Obesity (PACO I) and was held in Aruba from 8th - 11th June 2011. The resulting document from last year can be found online (read document). Shiriki Kumanyika, of IASO's International Obesity Task Force, represented IASO together with Dick Atkinson representing TOS and Ricardo Uauy of Chile Co-chaired with Ben Caballero. Then in June this year the second PACO II conference took place again involving a few key organisations including PAHO and FAO as well as IASO. Mauricio Barahonare presented FLASO and Dick Atkinson again was present.


Shiriki Kumanyika was the conference chair bringing together the outcomes of the preliminary workshop and ensuring the drafting of the conference conclusions were a true reflection of the whole integrated package of issues which were discussed by official key organisations involved in the whole programme. The substantial conclusions and recommendations are just out on the PAHO website (see documents) so readers can read the formal output of the conference. The conference was notable in emphasising the crucial importance of the social determinants of obesity with prevention being emphasised, including the need for strategic changes in the environment if we were to see effective measures for preventing both childhood and adult obesity. Shiriki has provided a separate short report on the meeting (read report). As anybody who has done this will recognise this can be a very tricky task and involved an immense amount of work. So I salute Shiriki for keeping IASO's reputation for high quality thinking and innovative work evident in the high level diplomatic channels that she has been involved in.    


New WHO analyses and targets for the NCDs and the avoidance of childhood overweight

Many of you will know that following the World Health Assembly meeting in May the secretariat with member states input was asked to revise their targets for NCDs. This is now out (read paper) and you will see they curiously include overweight and obesity with inactivity and fat intake - but not sugar intake - as an exposure rather than as an outcome. This shows we have some way to go to ensure that obesity is dealt with in the same way as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer. In addition the concept of avoiding childhood stunting is now being linked by the nutrition group within WHO to the avoidance of childhood overweight (read paper). Children considered stunted are often given more food which then simply converts them to being overweight stunted children. So global target 4 of the WHO document is now set out as ensuring that there is no increase in childhood overweight. For this to be inserted in a classic nutrition paper relating to malnutrition and maternal anaemia etc. is a major change of emphasis.


WHO Middle East Region developments  

Now the different regions of WHO are on the move and Dr Ala Alwan, previously the Assistant Director General in Geneva responsible for the problems of non communicable diseases (NCDs), nutrition and mental diseases, has now been appointed the WHO Regional Director for the Middle East countries based in Cairo. In the next few days there will be a major regional meeting of all the Health Ministries of the Middle Eastern Region (EMRO) of WHO focusing on their immense problems. NCD rates are extremely high with obesity rates, particularly in women exceeding those even in the US and with diabetes prevalence rates in some countries e.g. Saudi Arabia and the United Emirates, affecting 20% or more of all adults. This is an incredible medical crisis. So from the 10th to 12th September WHO is hoping to use some of our help to persuade the governments to take major initiatives to reduce the huge public health burden (read more). This is going to be a major challenge and I hope IASO members in the Middle East will be able to attend and contribute.


Further developments: Nobel economists in the Copenhagen Consensus

For those of you concerned with what governments and major organisations are thinking about the problems of health care you need to take on board the extremely important outcome of the quadrennial Copenhagen Consensus of top economists who have to answer the question of what they would spend money on to improve human welfare - reduction in armed conflict, climate change measures, sanitation etc. For the first time they included chronic diseases and included them in their top 10 spending proposals with the treatment of heart attacks coming out as cost benefit as well as measures for salt reduction. Read more here


American Heart Association guidelines for preventing cardiovascular disease

The American Heart Association has come out with new analyses of the best options for preventing cardiovascular diseases. For those of you who are interested in detailed analyses of how to assess the value of different approaches to interventions the latest AHA report with its 14 subsidiary tables is an example of the ever more rigorous approach which the medical profession is taking in developing its guidelines for action. Download the main report here and view the subsidiary tables here.


To keep up with all these developments and contribute in an effective and timely way is the challenge now for IASO.


Philip James

IASO Events 

Our 4th annual SCOPE School Cambridge was held last weekend from 31st August - 2nd September. We are delighted with the success of this year's School in Cambridge which attracted over fifty international delegates. Talks were held on a variety of topics including: Motivating Patients, Weight Loss Maintenance, Bariatric Surgery and Pregnancy in the Obese patient. The talks were given by industry professionals including Arya Sharma, Nick Finer and Deborah Horn. Click here to watch a short video of Dr Horn's session which will be featured in an IASO learning module.


*Delegates embracing Dr Horn's practical demonstration on the importance of physical activity*  




IASO also recently launched the very first SCOPE School India. This three day workshop will take place at the Hilton Janak Puri, Delhi from Friday 23rd - Sunday 25th November 2012. The 2012 programme features essential information on VLCD's, Measures to Maintain Weight Loss, Bariatric Surgery, How to Manage Weight During Pregnancy, Obesity in Children and Strategies to Motivate Patients. View the programme



SCOPE is IASO's official obesity education programme, designed for all health professionals. Attending SCOPE Schools entitles you to SCOPE points.


The 10th Stock Conference to be held in Prague from Friday 12th - Sunday 14th October 2012 is fast approaching and we are pleased to announce that IASO is extending the application deadline until Friday 7th September 2012. There are just a few places left so apply today!   


For more information please contact the events team - events@iaso.org 


SCOPE e-learning

Have you explored our SCOPE e-learning modules yet? Try our FREE sample modules!


Our full module repertoire includes the following titles:

  • An etiological approach to obesity assessment and management
  • When is surgical treatment for obesity appropriate?
  • Pregnancy and obesity - Part 1
  • Pregnancy and obesity - Part 2
  • Decision making for bariatric surgery
  • Obesity and kidney function
  • The treatment of diabetes in obesity
  • Obesity and bone
  • Weight management in primary care
  • Weight loss in patients with, or at risk of, type 2 diabetes
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Obstructive sleep apnea & hypertension
  • Body weight, energy expenditure and body composition in menopause
  • Lipids, the metabolic syndrome and obesity
  • Physical activity in weight maintenance
  • Obesity and prediabetes: a disease continuum
  • Clinical management of childhood obesity
  • Obesity in pregnancy: risks and management


And these modules will be released soon:

  • Helping the obese to move more and sit less: why and how
  • Challenging your prejudices
  • Nutrition for weight loss and maintenance
  • How to approach your patient
  • Facilitating behavioral change
  • Evoking change talk


Clinical Obesity...


A message from Professor Nick Finer, Editor-in-Chief...


Clinical Obesity JournalFree access ending soon!


Complimentary online access to Clinical Obesity will end in 2012. From January 1st 2013, the journal will only be available via a subscription. 2013 subscription prices will be announced shortly. 


To register for free access until the end of 2012, click here or send recommendation to your library today!  


Clinical Obesity is the journal of choice for clinical researchers and practitioners. It is an international peer-reviewed journal publishing high quality translational and clinical research papers and reviews focusing on obesity and its co-morbidities.  


Submit your paper to Clinical Obesity today...





Obesity Reviews... 


A message from Professor David York, Editor-in-Chief...


The September Issue of Obesity Reviews contains 6 reviews, 4 relating to widely variant aspects of Etiology and Pathophysiology and two related to the cardiovascular and pulmonary disease comorbidities. The first manuscript (Kee et al) is a systematic review of resting energy expenditure in the morbidly obese that highlights the problems for hospital food service in providing optimal nutrition during acute care. The second paper (Cohen et al) discusses a topic which we have all experienced of how contextual food cues (packaging appearance, location in store etc) influence dietary choices and question whether such influences are environmental risk factors. Hypothalamic Obesity in children is the focus of the third review (Bereket et al) and summarizes the outcomes of a symposium highlighting this topic covering basic Pathophysiology, management and treatment of the disease. The fourth review covers a topic of intense current research activity, the role of gut microflora in the development of obesity. This review (Payne et al) focuses on the impact of fructose, artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols on the gut microbiome and its effects on metabolic capacity. A report on the China Health and Nutrition Survey (Yan et al) highlighting the expanding burden of cardiometabolic risk is the focus of the 5th review; the authors suggest that over 27 million children and 334 million Chinese adults may be prediabetic or diabetic, incredible numbers. The final review (Santamaria et al) focuses on obesity and pulmonary disease and offers fascinating insight into the development of this association as well as addressing treatment approaches. Stephan's Corner provides a brief insight into Early weight control. If you do not find a topic here to spark your interest, go to the Wiley website (www.obesityreviews.net) where you can see all the manuscripts for forthcoming issues as well as the virtual supplements including new ones on outcomes of bariatric surgery and Childhood obesity.





Pediatric Obesity...


A message from Professor Michael Goran, Editor-in-Chief... 




In the October Issue of Pediatric Obesity there are 11 new papers. These include a new study on Obesity and metabolic status in white UK and Asian Indian children (read paper) and a large epidemiological study from the ENERGY project that examined childhood obesity and ethnic background across Europe (read paper). Also in this issue we have a comprehensive review on the links between body fat location and clinical outcomes in children (read review).


Submit your paper to Pediatric Obesity today... 





Come along and Meet the Editors!  

If you're attending The Obesity Society meeting in San Antonio, TX, stop by the Wiley-Blackwell booth, #232 to:
  • Meet the Editors of Clinical Obesity, Obesity Reviews, and Pediatric Obesity - Nicholas Finer, David York, and Michael Goran will be available at the booth on Friday 21st September 2012, between 12-1pm. Stop by for a general chat or to ask any questions you have about the journals
  • Find out more about all three IASO titles including reduced subscription rates for society members
  • Get a free sample print copy of Clinical Obesity, Obesity Reviews and Pediatric Obesity 
  • Pick up a free IASO post it note pad
  • Receive 20% off of the Wiley-Blackwell book titles on display




International Journal of Obesity...


IJO Cover

The September Issue contains a special section on Geriatric Obesity that covers a wide variety of areas from molecular to etiology to clinical. Epidemiologic research shows that obesity is rising rapidly in elderly people. The major etiologies of obesity in the elderly may differ from those in younger people and it is clear that treatment of obesity in the elderly requires special care.



DON'T MISS:  Editors Richard Atkinson and Nikhil Dhurandhar will also be available at The Obesity Society meeting and will be holding a session on 'How to get your paper published' for prospective, as well as established, authors offering advice on the key elements in being successful in having your paper accepted for publication. Join them on Saturday 22nd September from 7.30-9am.    

Obesity Data Portal

This month we have updates on data in Mauritius, Nigeria, Portugal, Yemen and the UAE. To view these new updates and explore other resources that are now available please visit our obesity data portal page


Member data request analysis... 


The table highlights the % prevalence of overweight and obesity in children by region and gender. The data are based on an unpublished IASO analysis. The analysis is an update of the 2000 Global Burden of Disease. The countries within the analysis are selected on the appropriateness and availability of the data and minimum and maximum values shown in the table are provided on this basis. The regions are based on the WHO regions, details can be found at www.who.int. The cut-off point used for defining overweight in children are the IOTF International cut-off points. Please note that these International cut-off points have now been published by month.


ENERGY project publishes user-friendly report
The European Commission-funded project on energy balance-related behaviour among children aged 10-12 years has published a public-facing report of its work, including summary results of surveys of children's behaviour in five EU countries, systematic reviews, guidance on conducting and evaluating behaviour-change trials, and feedback from a set of intervention pilots designed to reduce sedentary behaviour in six countries across the European region.


The report is available here. Survey results have recently been reported in two open access papers, at PLoS ONE and Pediatric Obesity.


For more details please contact Tim Lobstein tlobstein@iaso.org 


Bariatric surgery for children and adolescents - a WHO review

While bariatric surgery is established as an effective treatment with well-defined risks for severely obese adults, little of quality has been published on its use in children, with their unique metabolic, developmental and physiological needs. IASO has been working with the World Health Organization to review the evidence, including evidence on the effectiveness and the cost-effectiveness of surgical treatment. The resulting publication can support policymakers and guide future research. The report has been published by the WHO Regional Office for Europe and is available here.


Obesity in the News


Latest articles of obesity in the news...


Please note that all external links are provided for information only, their inclusion is not indicative of IASO endorsement.


Moderately high blood sugar linked with dementia (September 3rd, 2012)

High blood sugar has previously been linked with dementia. However, in this study even those with blood sugars  in the 'normal' but at the higher end of the normal range were linked at greater risk of dementia. The authors suggest that we may need to re-evaluate the concept of normal blood sugars.  


Adolescents with obesity or metabolic syndrome at increased risk of impaired brain function (September 3rd, 2012)

The study finds that only a few years of changes in metabolic activity can impact on brain function. The authors suggest that further research is required to ascertain if subsequent weight loss could reverse the reductions in cognitive performance and structural brain abnormalities.      


'Look after yourself or face government legislation' (September 3rd, 2012)  

A researcher suggests that people need to take care of their own health or governments will be forced to legislate in an attempt to halt the escalating health care costs associated with obesity and its related comorbidities.  


Click headlines to read the full story.


To see more of the latest articles of obesity in the news please visit: http://www.iaso.org/resources/obesity-news/ 

Member Association News 

The obesity society salutes Nike's  

"find your greatness" campaign

Silver Spring, MD - With the entire globe focused on the Olympics, The Obesity Society (TOS) congratulates Nike for their "Find Your Greatness" campaign. The videos show compellingly that sport is an activity for every person, and individual athletic achievement is within the reach of everyone, whatever their starting point.  The campaign demonstrates that whoever we are, when we push ourselves to do the very best that we can, we achieve our own greatness.


Perhaps the most profound of the "Greatness" videos shows "Nathan", a 12-year-old obese boy jogging the distance of a lonely country road. As he runs on at a steady pace, the narrator says, "Somehow we've come to believe that greatness is a gift reserved for a chosen few, for prodigies, for superstars, and the rest of us can only stand by watching. You can forget that...We're all capable of it. All of us."


With two-thirds of Americans overweight or obese, vast numbers of children and adults suffer weight-based stigma and discrimination in all areas, including sports. Stereotypes incorrectly portray overweight people as inactive couch potatoes who routinely overeat junk food.  In reality, the thousands of overweight people in the National Weight Control Registry who have successfully lost substantial amounts of weight and kept it off for years engage in very high amounts of physical activity- the average being 45-60 minutes a day, every day. But many obese children and adults are subjected to cruel and pejorative comments when they engage in exercise or sports.


"Often the very people who criticize them as lazy are the first to insult them or make fun of them when they do exercise. Fear of humiliation can be a bigger barrier to exercise than physical discomfort. Hopefully the Nike video of the young jogger will encourage viewers to challenge their stereotypes and to empathize with, and honor, exercisers of all sizes," said Patrick M. O'Neil, PhD, TOS President.


TOS salutes Nike for deliberately, and with simplicity and grace, taking on the issue of obesity stigma and bias.  Says Jennifer Lovejoy, PhD, Past President of TOS, "Kudos to Nike for challenging the stereotype that all kids who are overweight are inactive.  And kudos to every overweight person who looks inside themself, sees their personal greatness, and decides to defy the stereotypes one more day."


Note: The Nathan video is available here.  



If you have any comments or information you would like us to include in the next IASO newsletter please contact:


Emma Graham

Publishing and Communications Manager

email: egraham@iaso.org

phone: +44 (0)20 7685 2580

web: http://www.iaso.org



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