Q&A with Andrea Haqq, Panelist on “A Calorie Is a Calorie—or Is It?”

6/7/2011– Childhood Obesity Conference


Dr. Andrea Haqq“It is important to recognize the complexity of obesity and recognize that in obesity prevention and treatment, it is not a one-size-fits-all solution,” says Andrea Haqq, associate professor in the Division of Pediatric Endocrinology at the University of Alberta. Dr. Haqq is a member of the expert panel on the mini-plenary session, "A Calorie Is a Calorie - or Is It?" Part of the Conference's Basic and Applied Research track, this session will explore differences in caloric value and metabolism of fats, proteins and carbohydrates within each macronutrient category. Dr. Haqq shares the details of her research and sheds light on the complexity of the obesity epidemic.


Childhood Obesity Conference: What can you tell us about your most recent work in childhood obesity?


Dr. Haqq: Much of my research focuses on Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS), a rare genetic disorder (1/10,000 – 1/15,000) accompanied by growth failure (related in part to growth hormone deficiency), central hypogonadism leading to incomplete or absent puberty, developmental delay and obesity caused by uncontrolled hunger and food-seeking. Complementary work explores other unique metabolic factors related to the development of insulin resistance in general obesity.


Our prior studies suggest dysregulation of the hormone ghrelin, which plays a central role in food intake. Given the critical implications of the disorder for understanding appetite control and weight gain, our comprehensive clinical PWS studies are important to (1) delineate the pathophysiology of obesity and its complications in PWS in order to design novel treatments that will improve overall quality of life and prevent premature mortality; and (2) to apply these novel findings to the prevention and treatment of non-syndromic childhood obesity. This rare disease and other metabolic profiling studies in obesity remind us of the critical biologic drivers of our current burgeoning obesity epidemic and provide further understanding of general childhood obesity.


COC: What advice do you have for others working in obesity prevention research?


Dr. Haqq: It is important to recognize the complexity of obesity and recognize that in obesity prevention and treatment, it is not a one-size-fits-all solution!


COC: What first brought you to this area of work?


Dr. Haqq: Early in my training, I was exposed to great unique training in understanding the biologic and genetic drivers of obesity. This area is a fascinating and continually evolving area of research.


COC: What do you think is the most promising development in obesity prevention today?


Dr. Haqq: Further recognition of the complexity of obesity should lead to more innovative strategies for prevention and treatment.


COC: What are you hoping to learn at the Childhood Obesity Conference?


Dr. Haqq: I hope that the Conference will allow for further international productive collaborations to explore more novel areas of obesity prevention and treatment.




Movie Screening: Nourishing the Kids of Katrina: The Edible Schoolyard

5/31/2011 – Childhood Obesity Conference


Nourishing the Kids of Katrina: The Edible SchoolyardWe are happy to announce a second movie screening taking place at the Childhood Obesity Conference on Wednesday, June 29th, at 7:15 p.m.


Nourishing The Kids Of Katrina: The Edible Schoolyard is a documentary film that follows the compelling story of how renowned Berkeley educator and chef Alice Waters' “Edible Schoolyard” program—which teaches students how to grow, cook and eat fresh healthy foods—helped revitalize a New Orleans charter school after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.


The award-winning film features interviews with Alice Waters, health professionals, educators and students. It includes remarks by President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama about the development of the White House organic garden, issues of childhood obesity and health, and the importance of good nutrition. The story is told from the perspective of filmmaker Robert Lee Grant, who experienced Hurricane Katrina while living in New Orleans. Watch the trailer.


We are also screening the documentary Riding Bikes with the Dutch. To learn more about this film, click here.




Q&A with Lexi Nolen, Panelist on “Health in All Policies”

5/24/2011 – Childhood Obesity Conference


Dr. Jennifer WolchLexi Nolen, director at the University of Texas Medical Branch’s Center to Eliminate Health Disparities, will contribute to our Community Nutrition and Physical Activity Track. Her work includes community-based research and interventions as well as policy development on issues of health disparities and public health. As a speaker in the mini-plenary session, “Health in All Policies: A Good Solution Solves Multiple Problems,” Dr. Nolen will offer insight on social determinants of health and advocacy strategies for health equity. Read on for our Q&A session with Dr. Nolen.


Childhood Obesity Conference: What challenges, achievements or new goals can you share about your work in obesity prevention?


Dr. Nolen: My work involves a holistic community development approach to disaster recovery, including consideration of the impact of disasters on childhood obesity as well as other health issues. We have undertaken work on GIS-based Health Impact Assessment as a strategy both for identifying priorities and sensitizing the community to social determinants of health.


COC: What advice do you have for others working to advance the “health in all policies” concept?


Dr. Nolen: Community sensitization and conversation, and combining top-down and bottom-up approaches, underpinned with quality research, are essential to effective community change.


COC: What first brought you to this area of work?


Dr. Nolen: I worked internationally as the coordinator of the Global Equity Gauge Alliance, then on the secretariat of the WHO Commission on Social Determinants of Health. When I returned to the United States, I hoped to apply my experience to a domestic context. Little did I know that Hurricane Ike would redefine Galveston, Texas, six months after I arrived…


COC: What do you think is the most promising development in obesity prevention today?


Dr. Nolen: The multi-sectoral approach (if not inter-sectoral approach) that is developing, and the level of public attention to the issue from community to federal government.


COC: What are you hoping to learn at the Childhood Obesity Conference?


Dr. Nolen: I hope to stimulate my brain by being around smart people doing the work in ways I haven’t thought of.




5 Easy Tips to Dive into Social Media

5/11/2011 – Martin Kearns, PreventObesity.net


Martin KearnsA Message from Martin Kearns, Keynote Speaker


Social media has revolutionized the way people communicate. Politicians share news that they’re running for office on Twitter. Friends organize plans to get together over Facebook. Parents post videos of their kids to YouTube, allowing family to stay connected from across the country.


But how can social media help you in your efforts to combat childhood obesity? How can you use social media at the Childhood Obesity Conference in June? And how can you maximize its benefits to make it work best for you? I’ll be sharing my thoughts on this in a keynote session, but before then I’ve come up with five easy tips to help you dive into the world of social media.


1. Sign Up. It seems pretty self-explanatory, but if you or your organization doesn’t have an account for the major social networking sites — Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn — get one! Please also join PreventObesity.net. I’m co-director of this exciting project, in which we’re building an online network of dedicated leaders and supporters working to combat childhood obesity. It’s a great way for you to meet with others in the field and get tools to help with your efforts, so be sure to sign up as a leader. The best part: It’s free!


2. Get Connected. Once you’re signed up for social media sites, you can begin to meet others.

  • Like the Childhood Obesity Conference’s Facebook page, a gathering place for conference-goers, and join the conversation.
  • Follow the Childhood Obesity Conference on Twitter. Their Twitter handle is @ObesityConf. Be sure to “tweet” at them to introduce yourself!
  • Dive into these social networking sites! Find other individuals and organizations involved with childhood obesity efforts. Follow these folks on Twitter, like them on Facebook and connect on LinkedIn.
  • Another connecting tip: type the official Conference hashtag — #COC11 — into search.twitter.com. A quick explainer: a “hashtag” is used to help folks find tweets relating to a specific topic on Twitter. It always has a # in front of it, letting Twitter know to include that subject in the specific search. So, if you search for “#COC11,” you’ll find folks who are chatting about the Conference. When you mention the Conference on Twitter, be sure to use the hashtag so others can connect to you.


3. Talk the Talk. Major conferences with thousands of participants can be overwhelming, but Twitter helps break it down. The most popular method is live tweeting. It’s simple enough: When in a session or meeting, share your thoughts in a quick tweet or two. Don’t try to cover everything, just interesting tidbits you think are relevant or feedback you’d like to share. Include the hashtag, #COC11, so you can have conversations with others, including people who can’t attend the event but are following it on Twitter. Some sessions might have their own hashtag — I’ll call my session #SocialCOC, for example — so keep that in mind, too. If you want to see what others are saying, search for the hashtag, and you’ll see tweets from other conference-goers. It’s a great way to find out what’s happening in sessions you can’t make.


4. Reach Out. If there’s a specific speaker or participant you’d like to connect with at the Conference, or a question you really want to ask, do it now via social media channels. This allows people to get to know you beforehand, and also lets you get to know them, maximizing your time in San Diego. Remember that sometimes conference speakers are bombarded with questions during sessions, so chatting with them ahead of time will ensure your issues are addressed. Here’s a list of individuals and organizations presenting at the Conference who are on Twitter.


5. Keep in Touch. Don’t let the end of the Childhood Obesity Conference be the end of your social media work. If there’s feedback you’d like to give a speaker, a question you have that didn’t get answered or if you just want to reach out for potential opportunities to work together, use social media! In fact, connect with everybody you meet in San Diego, and you’ll have created a network of collaborators by the time the next conference rolls around.




Youth Scholarship Recipients Announced

5/03/2011 - Childhood Obesity Conference


Leaders for a Lifetime


California Project LEAN (Leaders Encouraging Activity and Nutrition) (CPL) would like to thank all of the amazing youth leaders who applied for their scholarship opportunity. CPL has awarded full scholarships to youth members and adult allies from the following organizations to attend and participate in the Childhood Obesity Conference. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn about the innovative ways these youth advocates from around the country are improving nutrition and physical activity environments in their local communities.


Alliance for a Healthier Generation Youth Advisory Board

Goodlettsville, Tennessee and Gretna, Louisiana


Anderson Union High School District CUB LEAN

Anderson, California


Better Eating, Activity and Nutrition for Students (BEANS) Program

Ukiah, California


Building a Master Foundation for Food

San Rafael, California


Girls in the Game, Varsity Squad

Chicago, Illinois


Healthy Choices

Stockton, California


Jóvenes SANOS

Capitola, California


Leaders for a Lifetime

Chico, California



Santa Barbara, California


Youth Radio

Oakland, California


Youth Wellness Advisory Board, Fremont Federation of High Schools

Oakland, California




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