Three Highlights of Thursday at Obesity Week 2013

Thursday at Obesity Week 2013, the energy and buzz around this landmark meeting made it unmistakable that this new meeting was more than the sum of the two meetings that came before it. Registration totals announced at the Obesity Society business meeting — still preliminary — have topped 4,600, helping to make this point clear.

Here are a few highlights, though many others are scattered through this very busy day overflowing with insights into obesity.

  1. “No Virtue in Subtlety” — Tom Farley, NYC Department of Health. Farley reviewed an impressive range of interventions. Some were subtle and some, not so subtle. While the more controversial efforts might not have had their desired effects directly, Farley said he welcomed the attention they brought to the issues they targeted. He has a point about sugar-sweetened beverages, which consumer health awareness and preferences are driving down, though some of the his proposed regulations were never put in force. We’re not a fan of imagery that sometimes verges on insulting to people with obesity, though.
  2. Brian Wansink — Elegant Nudges. The ASMBS Integrated Health Section brought the man behind mindless eating insights to a packed hall of TOS and ASMBS members — an embodiment of the benefit of this combined meeting. Wansink is proving that simple changes in school cafeterias can exert a big effect.
  3. George Blackburn and George Bray — Masters of Obesity Medicine. These two Georges have permanently changed the course of obesity medicine, publishing over 1,000 papers and shaping the lives of numerous other researchers. Bray talked fondly about the beginnings of organizations dedicated to obesity medicine. Blackburn credited the hard work of many people in bringing the Board and Society to where they are. The Master of Obesity Award, conferred by the American Board of Obesity Medicine, recognizes two people of extraordinary character who provide a model for the emerging specialty of obesity medicine.

Stay tuned for more highlights from Obesity Week 2013.

Atlanta Skyline from Buckhead, photograph © Chuck Koehler / flickr

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