by Lauren Fiechtner, MD

The places where we live, work, and play, sometimes referred to as the “built environment,” likely influence health in several ways. My particular interest in this topic began after seeing how challenging it is for some of my patients to eat healthy in the environment where they live. I began doing research on whether access to healthful food establishments may help people be healthier and, if they need, to lose weight.

by Stephanie Linakis and Sheryl Rifas-Shiman

Be sure to read the last two musings of our team members on ObesityWeek 2014!

by Renata Smith, Adelaide Gordon and Nicole Buechler

Read on for the musings of our team members on their insights and experience at ObesityWeek 2014. More to follow next week...

by Szilvia Szegedi, Amy Louer and Marleny Ortega

Click on "read more" to see what three of our team members have answered to the question: "What did you learn at ObesityWeek 2014?" Check back tomorrow for more musings on ObesityWeek... 

by Chelsea Jenter, Nicole Witham, and John Livingstone

We asked our research team: "What did you learn at ObesityWeek 2014?" Their responses will be posted over the course of the next seven days.
Click on "read more" to read the first three...


by Marie-France Hivert, MD, MMSc

I am so conscious about the health benefits of exercise that some days I feel like an exercise "addict." It turns out that I'm not alone. There are plenty of people who have the same urge that I do, who are excited about going up and down stadium steps, jogging 10 miles, or making the gym part of their daily routine. Sometimes we have a goal, but sometimes we do it just because it feels good.


by Jason Block, MD, MPH

ObesityWeek is a combined meeting of The Obesity Society and the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, two leading organizations that explore clinical care, research, and policies regarding obesity and related diseases. This year, the meeting was held in Boston, Massachusetts, allowing a large contingent of our Obesity Prevention Program to attend. We asked all of them:  What did you learn at Obesity Week 2014?  Over the next few weeks, we’ll be posting their responses.


by Chelsea Jenter, MPH

For kids, sugar not only tastes good, but it makes them feel good too. This might explain my four year old’s obsession with Halloween. The Friday before last, she sprinted from house to house, as if it was her only chance to get candy in this century. And though Halloween was just two weeks ago, she’s already asking how long it is until the “next” Halloween. What is this obsession with candy? This could be a long year.


by Stephanie Linakis, MPH

Replacing sugar sweetened beverages with artificially sweetened, zero and reduced calorie substitutes would seem to be one foolproof strategy for weight loss, right? Well, maybe – the story could be more complicated. Our body’s myriad biological and psychological pathways challenge what would logically appear to be a simple choice. The body can easily recognize and process a natural, calorie free substance such as water. Drinks – and yogurt and other products – that are artificially sweetened (with aspartame, saccharin, or sucralose, for example), however, can confuse our systems and may lead to unintended consequences. 


by Renata Smith, MPH

In addition to text messaging interventions for obesity prevention and management, researchers are using mobile applications (‘apps’) as a means of supporting participants in their weight loss or maintenance journey. The world is fascinated with apps for all aspects of life. As of June 2014, a staggering 75 billion apps of any kind have been downloaded from the Apple App Store, with 50 billion more downloaded from the Google Play store. So, it makes sense to take advantage of such a large study population of app users.