Newswise — National Harbor, MD: Childhood obesity has more than tripled since the early 1970s and has become one of the most pressing public health concerns of our time. Children with obesity are at increased risk for significant medical and psychological comorbidities at a young age. Therefore, both scientists and healthcare professionals need to prioritize the identification, evaluation and implementation of effective approaches in order to prevent and treat pediatric obesity and reduce disease risk.

Thousands of top researchers, clinicians and surgeons from around the world will gather for the fifth annual ObesityWeek conference at The Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland from Oct. 29–Nov. 2. This weeklong conference will feature notable pediatric speakers and scientific sessions as well as abstracts, all focused on research, treatment and prevention of childhood obesity.

Notable sessions and abstracts:


Adolescent Weight Management: What Works? What First?

Speakers: Elissa Jelalian, PhD; Dyan S. Hes, MD; Janey Pratt, MD

The prevalence of pediatric obesity continues to increase, with adolescent obesity posing a significant concern because of the strong likelihood of obesity persisting from adolescence into adulthood. In this symposium, leaders in the fields of adolescent behavioral, pharmacological and surgical weight loss will present the current empirical findings about these interventions, discuss special considerations for each type of intervention when used in adolescents and discuss best approaches to treatment in this population.


Empowering Solutions for Families and Communities: Final Results of the COPTR Trials

Speakers: Elaine Borawski, PhD; Shirley M Moore, PhD, RN, FAAN; Thomas Robinson, MD; Shari Barkin, MD, MSHS; Nancy E Sherwood, PhD; Simone A French, PhD

COPTR is an NIH-funded consortium (2010-2017) of four studies to evaluate different multi-level, multi-setting three-year community-based interventions for obesity treatment and prevention among low-income children. Across the four studies, three-year interventions targeted preschoolers, school-aged children and adolescents and their families and were delivered in primary care, schools, community centers, park and recreation organizations, and home settings. Change in child BMI was the primary outcome in all four studies. This symposium presents results from each of the trials for the primary outcome, secondary outcomes and intervention dose/participation. Together, the result from these four large-scale, multi-setting community based interventions can move the field of pediatric obesity prevention and treatment to a new level, and inform further research, programming, translation and policy around childhood obesity prevention and treatment.



T-OR-2019 Using Electronic Health Records to Screen for Sugar-Sweetened Beverage (SSB) Consumption in Children      

Authors: Kristina H Lewis, MD, MPH, SM; Joseph Skelton, MD, MS; Jason P Block, MD, MPH; Fang-Chi Hsu, PhD; Beatriz Ospino Sanchez; Elsie Taveras, MD, MPH    

Electronic health record (EHR) data is one resource for studying health in large populations, but it has traditionally lacked information about key patient behaviors, such as dietary habits. Routine computerized screening will allow pediatricians to quickly target educational feedback to families, and track the impact of sugary drinks on the weight and health status of their patient populations.                                                                  

"Using the EHR to ask about children's sugary behavior intake, beginning in infancy, will help us study the links between this behavior and health outcomes like obesity," said Kristina Henderson Lewis, MD, MPH, SM, Assistant Professor in Public Health Science at Wake Forest University Health Sciences.                                                                 

T-OR-2074 Maternal Diet While Nursing Modifies Association Between Breastfeeding and Child Vegetable Intake

Authors: Jacob P Beckerman, MPH; Alison K Venutura, PhD

During breastfeeding, flavors from the mother's diet are transferred to the infant, and repeated exposure to these flavors within breast milk helps promote the infant's preferences for foods with these flavors during solid food feeding. Investigators have found that breastfed children eat more fruits and vegetables than their formula-fed peers, even after adjusting for socio-demographic factors such as maternal education and family income.


“Clinicians and others should not only work with mothers to encourage healthy diet and breastfeeding, but also seek to create environments that are supportive of both breastfeeding and healthy eating by educating family members and advocating for community and policy-level change,” said Jacob Beckerman, MPH, Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health at Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.


All papers contain new research and are embargoed until October 31, 2017 at 12:01am.


View the full ObesityWeek schedule.


ObesityWeek is open to the media. Press passes are available upon request by emailing Robyn Gordon at [email protected].


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This press release can be published in full or in part with attribution to The Obesity Society.


About ObesityWeek

ObesityWeek is a unique, international event focused on the basic science, clinical application, surgical intervention and prevention of obesity. By combining The Obesity Society (TOS) and American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) annual meetings, ObesityWeek brings together world-renowned experts in obesity to share innovation and breakthroughs in science unmatched around the globe. Attendees will enjoy the diverse educational opportunities, networking events, and scientific synergies created through the collaboration of these leading obesity organizations. For more information, visit and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.


About The Obesity Society

The Obesity Society (TOS) is the leading professional society dedicated to better understanding, preventing and treating obesity. Through research, education and advocacy, TOS is committed to improving the lives of those affected by the disease. For more information, visit and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Learn more about industry relationships here.