Thursday, January 17, 2008

EMGO seminar on obesity, physical activity and tailored health education

On Wednesday, January 16 we held a seminar at the EMGO Institute ( featuring three distinguished scientists in the field of behavioural nutrition and physical activity research. First, Deanna Hoelscher presented data from the School Physical Activity and Nutrition (SPAN) study. This study to monitor trends and determinants of childhood overweight and obesity in Texas, shows that the rising trends in obesity prevalence that were observed in the last decades appear to have topped off or even reversed in some parts of the state of Texas. Dr. Hoelscher, who is the director of the Michael and Susan Dell Centre for Advancement of Healthy Living ( and Associate Professor at the University of Texas at Houston, argued that a comprehensive approach of health education and policy change may have initiated this promising development.
Dr. Ron Iannotti from the prevention research branch of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development ( presented research from the Health Behaviour in School Children study, showing that physical activity and sedentary behaviour are associated with a range of physical and mental health indicators as well as with other health behaviours among school children. His results further indicate that physical activity and sedentary behaviour are not two sides of the same coin. His research compared the US to different regions in Europe and his results indicate that patterns between physical activity, sedentary behaviour and health may differ between regions.
Finally, Dr. Kim Gans, Associate Professor at Brown University ( department of Community Health, presented some interesting results from two studies on tailored nutrition education. Both studies indicated that tailored nutrition education is more effective than generic nutrition education. However, her studies also indicate that multiple tailored feedback is not always more effective than single tailored feedback and that enrichment of tailored feedback with interactive motivational elements may not be superior to tailored feedback only.
The EMGO Institute was honoured to be able to host these three scientists and grateful for their contribution to the EMGO seminar program.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Overveen ISBNPA Executive Committee Meeting

On 14-15 January 2008 the executive committee of the International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity (ISBNPA; met in Overveen, near Amsterdam, the Netherlands. This was the first time we held such a midterm, in between annual society meetings (see, to discuss strategic priorities and ‘SMART’ goals for further fostering the society.

ISBNPA as formally established in 2002 at the first annual meeting in Seattle, USA. Since then we held a scientific meeting every year; we went to Quebec City, Washington DC, Amsterdam, Boston and Oslo, and we will meet in Banff, Canada in May of this year. In our almost 7-year history our society we have grown steadily to a 500+ membership, we have established an open-access journal that is on its way to a good impact factor (see, and produce monthly news letters to inform our members about issues important to research related to nutrition behavior and physical activity.

ISBNPA’s Vision Statement is:
ISBNPA will be the international leader in advancing and fostering excellence in research on nutrition behavior and physical activity.

And our Mission Statement:
We stimulate, promote and advocate innovative research and policy in the area of behavioral nutrition and physical activity toward the betterment of human health worldwide.

These statements were developed in Seattle in 2002 and have been re-confirmed at the Overveen meeting. The midterm executive committee (see for a list of the officers serving on the executive committee as well as other ISBNPA committees) meeting started informally at my home with dinner and drinks at our kitchen table. The more formal meeting was held at Hotel Roozendaal, and in the course of two days we discussed all aspects of our society, i.e. the annual meeting, membership issues, the journal, the website, finance, nominations for future officers, et cetera, based on SWOT (strength, weaknesses, opportunities, threats, see analyses and SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, timely, see strategic goals prepared by the members of the EC in advance of the meeting.

During the meeting we have decided to build a better foundation for our society by means of, amongst other things:

  • Development of a annual meeting preparation handbook to facilitate the organization of our annual meetings

  • Promote a further growth in the number of members, especially from countries that are now underrepresented by:

  1. Establishing a scholarship program to support colleagues from developing countries to attend the annual meeting and present their research

  2. Establishing an ambassador program, with ISBNPA ambassadors in underrepresented countries for promoting our society there

  3. Providing free registration for people from underrepresented countries for our next annual meeting in Banff, under the condition that they become ISBNPA members

  • Establishing a sounder financial basis by developing a structured sponsorship program
    Development of a new ISBNPA website that provides:

  1. Better facilities to communicate with and between members

  2. Better facilities to have an up-to-date administration of members and conference registration

  • Further provide financial support for the ISBNPA journal ( so that the journal can further grow into the leading journal on nutrition behavior and physical activity research

ISBNPA is now able to work on these issues because or growing membership and successful annual meeting proof that our society is here to stay, and has created the financial means to enable some further investments in our society.

A formal report on the decisions made during the Overveen meeting will be prepared for the Executive Committee and Business meetings at the Banff conference coming spring.