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HPDP researchers helped the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention develop real strategies for obesity prevention and control at the first-ever Weight of the Nation conference July 27-29.

Eric Finkelstein discussed new research showing obesity in the U.S. Costs about $147 billion a year. The study, published on the Health Affairs website, reports that, between 1998 and 2006, the prevalence of obesity (body mass index greater than 30) increased by 37 percent. Finkelstein is director of RTI International’s Public Health Economics Program and a HPDP Research Fellow, as well as first author of the study.

Dianne Ward, principal investigator for HPDP’s NAPSACC and other related studies addressing obesity in early childhood, spoke on a panel about opportunities for obesity prevention through pregnancy and early life.

Lara Khalil, HPDP project director for a series of projects focused on school-age children, participated in a panel where she discussed leveraging social marketing to reduce adolescent obesity. She also presented a poster on the same research, entitled “Picture Me Healthy: Photo-Based Inquiry for Youth Expression Informs Policy and Environmental Change.”

Other posters with HPDP connections included:

  • “NC Childhood Obesity Prevention Demonstration Projects: Lessons Learned from a Community-Driven Approach,” Marcus Plescia, Phyllis Fleming, Pamela Seamans, Jamie Cousins, Cathy Thomas. Plescia has been a member of HPDP’s Steering Committee and Fleming directs the HPDP Evaluation Core.
  • “Eat Smart, Move More: NC’s Pediatric Obesity Clinician Reference Guide and Tool Kit,” Kathryn Kolasa, Sarah Armstrong, Robert Schwartz, Suzanne Lazorick, Eliana Perrin. This poster builds on the work of the HPDP Kids Eating Smart and Moving More project (Alice Ammerman, principal investigator). Co-author Eliana Perrin is an HPDP Research Fellow.
  • “Motivating Adolescents with Technology to Choose HEALTH: An Effective School-Based Obesity Strategy,” Suzanne Lazorick, George Hardison, Denise Esserman, Eliana Perrin.

Four team members from the Center of Excellence for Training and Research Translation (Center TRT) attended the conference, as well as Center director Alice Ammerman.

Weight of the Nation was designed to provide a forum to highlight progress in the prevention and control of obesity through policy and environmental strategies and is framed around four intervention settings: community, medical care, school, and workplace. The conference is unique because it combines presentations with interactive discussions about what really works in each setting.

Former President Bill Clinton gave a keynote speech on Monday, along with Senator Tom Harkin. The primary audience for the conference included elected and appointed public policy makers; federal, state and local public health leaders; and researchers and others engaged in policy-related obesity prevention and control initiatives.

“Those most at risk for obesity are the non-rich in a rich society,” said Clinton during his remarks.

Senator Harkin promised that Congress will pass major health care reform this year, with a special emphasis on prevention.

DateJuly 29, 2009

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