Yesterday's Obesity Summit 2 brought together researchers, clinicians and academics from all over the Stanford campus to share their perspectives on the challenges and approaches to solutions for addressing the nation's obesity epidemic.
The daylong, free event showcased current and innovative obesity-related research at Stanford. The topics ranged from basic science to clinical to community-based research. Among the presentations:
Mary Rosenberger, PhD, discussed research on developing technologies for both measurement and providing feedback about sedentary and physical activity behavior including the Stanford Wockets Activity Project. In this project, researchers at Stanford are partnering with colleagues at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to create evaluate a custom designed physical activity and sedentary behavior monitoring system that uses small wireless motion sensors (Wockets) and a mobile phone to track the physical activity and sedentary behavior in great detail 24/7 for extended periods of time. Rosenberger discussed the link between prolonged sitting and increased health risks and how emerging technologies that accurately measure physical activity and sedentary behavior will help scientists better understand this connection.
Randall Stafford, MD, PhD, delivered a talk titled, "Designing and Evaluating Obesity Treatment Strategies for Low-Income Communities," where he discussed the Vivamos Activos clinical trail. During the two-year study, 207 low-income and Latino patients who are obese and who had one or more heart disease risk factors were randomly were randomly selected to participate in one of two interventions or simply receive the usual level or primary care provided by a health clinic. One intervention consisted of five 60-minute individual and 15 90-minute group sessions devoted to behavioral strategies to facilitate weight loss conducted by a health educator. The second combined the individual and group sessions with seven home visits provided by a community health worker to provide life-style and environmental support for behavior change to facilitate weight loss. The results of the trial are still pending but Stafford noted that if the study's intervention approach is successful, the goal of the program is to transfer ownership of the program to a county health agency to maintain.
Thomas Robinson, MD, MPH, gave two presentations: one about findings suggesting "stealth interventions" can effectively help people eat better and exercise more and a second on the Pediatric Weight Control Program at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital. Back in 2009, Robinson and colleagues testing the stealth strategy approach, which taps into intrinsic motivators to motivate people to adopt healthier habits, during a "Food and Society" course. At the Obesity Summit, he discussed the study results, which we previously wrote about on Scope, and why the approach is more effective than the conventional tactic of explaining to patients how changing their lifestyle choices could harm their health. In his overview of the pediatric weight control program, Robinson noted several key findings including:
- 85 percent of patients complete the entire six month program
- 85 percent of children who complete the program successfully decrease their overweight
- More than 75 percent of overweight parents also lose weight. The average weight loss by parents is 5 pounds and the maximum is 45 pounds.
Videos of the presentations from the Obesity Summit 2 will be posted online here at a later date.
Previously: Is frequent snacking to blame for Americans' growing waistlines?,Stanford hosts conference on the science of sedentary behavior, Does TV watching, or prolonged sitting, contribute to child obesity rates?,Study shows U.S. obesity rates will expand over next 40 years and Experts weigh in on the most effective approach to fighting obesity
Photo by Sandra Cohen-Rose and Colin Rose