Sunday, November 22, 2009

The annual meeting of the Portuguese Society of the Study of Obesity

Last Friday I gave a keynote lecture at the annual meeting of the Portuguese Society of the Study of Obesity (congresso portugues de obesidad). Together with one other keynote speaker, Geoffrey Williams of the University of Rochester, we were the only ones presenting in English. Because my Portuguese is complete non existent, I did not get much off the other presentations, but I understood that the conference was mainly clinically oriented, aiming to share information on obesity treatment from a primarily clinical perspective. Professor Williams and myself were also two of very few who talked on a behavioural perspective of obesity treatment and prevention.
Professor Williams, an expert on Self Determination Theory (SDT) and on interventions using that theory for a range of health behaviour changes, including obesity treatment, gave a very nice and complete overview of the evidence for SDT-based interventions. He presented great mediation analyses that indicated that the cornerstones of SDT, autonomy and control, indeed mediate the effects of SDT-based interventions.
I provided an overview of the rationale and evidence for obesogenic social, physical and economical environments, informed by results of a number of studies I was and am involved in, such as the Health Promotion through Obesity Prevention in Europe (HOPE) project and the EuropeaN Energy balance Research to prevent excessive weight Gain among Youth (ENERGY) project. Click here for a handout of my presentation.