3rd Scandinavian Pediatric Obesity Conference 2008

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Professor Lars Bo Andersen, Denmark

Lars Bo Andersen is professor at the Institute of Sport Sciences in Oslo and part time at the University of Southern Denmark. He has a background in exercise physiology, but has worked with epidemiological studies for the last 25 years. Especially CVD risk factors and the metabolic problems related to physical inactivity and obesity in children has been the focus most of the time. A main aim has been to use the physiological knowledge in the analysis of the epidemiological data. He has conducted several longitudinal population studies in children in order to elucidate how the metabolic problems start, and to come up with possible preventive strategies. One of the later publications is a suggestion of physical activity guidelines for children based on objectively assessed activity published in Lancet.


Professor Richard Atkinson, USA
Richard Atkinson is a US physician who has worked in obesity research and treatment for over 30 years.  After graduating from the Medical College of Virginia, he served on the faculty of several medical schools.  His research focused on the mechanisms of weight loss with obesity surgery and on drug treatment of obesity.  In recent years he described the first human virus to cause obesity and currently is evaluating the role of human adenoviruses in the etiology and complications of obesity.  He is Editor of the International Journal of Obesity and Past President of NAASO, ASCN, and the American Obesity Association.  He is interested in obesity policy and has advocated for young investigator programs nationally and internationally.


Professor Inger Björck, Sweden
Inger Björck is professor of food related nutrition at the division of Applied Nutrition and Food Chemistry, Lund University. Her research topic has mainly focused on the impact of various food factors or food properties on glycaemic regulation and risk factors associated with the metabolic syndrome. In particular, she has studied the role of various dietary carbohydrates. More recently there has also been an emphasis on the potential differences in insulinogenic properties of milk- and other food proteins. Prof Björck is managing director of a recently launched centre of excellence in research and innovation “ANTIDIABETIC FOOD CENTRE” at Lund University.


Professor Corrado Cilio, Sweden
Corrado Cilio is an associate professor of Paediatric Immunology at the Department of Clinical Sciences and Paediatrics, Malmö University Hospital, Lund University, Sweden. Dr. Cilio’s main research interest is to unravel the immunological mechanisms behind the development of type 1 diabetes and other autoimmune disorders with the overall objective to identify new strategies to prevent and cure these diseases: “from the bench to the bedside”. Using both animal models and human patients, Dr Cilio’s laboratory aims at identifying genetic and environmental factors involved in diabetes susceptibility with major focus on the role of obesity and inflammation. During the last 10 years Dr. Cilio has contributed in discovering several cellular defects both in mice as well as in autoimmune patients and he has produced genetic evidences that these phenomena were involved in diabetes pathogenesis.


Dr Ingegerd Ericsson, Sweden

Ingegerd Ericsson, PhD in Education, is a senior lecturer in sport sciences at the School of Teacher Education, Malmö University. Her scientific interests include physical activity, motor development, and motor skills in children. Two important projects have played an important role in her research: “MUGI Motorisk Utveckling som Grund för Inlärning” [Motor Development as Basis for Learning] and the “Bunkeflo Project-promoting a healthy lifestyle”. In writing her doctoral thesis “Motor skills, attention and academic achievements” she followed the pupils in the Bunkeflo project during their first three years of school.



Dr Mikael Fogelholm, Finland

Dr. Mikael Fogelholm has been the director of the UKK Institiute for Health Promotion Research since 2001. Dr. Fogelholm is originally a nutritionist, but has later specialized in the connections between physical activity, nutrition and health. He is also interested in assessment of physical activity and body composition. His research publications include epidemiological settings, methodological studies and randomized trials. He has also written several reviews and chapters in textbooks. He has been the chair of the Finnish Association for the Study of Obesity in 2001-2003 and he was the president of the European Congress on Obesity in Helsinki, 2003.


Professor Bernard Gutin, USA

Bernard (Bob) Gutin, PhD, is Professor Emeritus of Applied Physiology from Teachers College, Columbia University (1991) and Professor Emeritus of Pediatrics & Physiology from the Medical College of Georgia (2005).  He and his colleagues have conducted studies in children about the relations among physical activity, diet, body composition and health; he has published one book, and more than 175 scientific papers and book chapters.  At the SPOC meeting he will describe the rationale, methods and results of the Medical College of Georgia FitKid Project; this obesity prevention effort involved 600 third grade children in 18 schools, half of which were provided with an after-school intervention for 3 years.



Professor Claude Marcus, Sweden

Dr. Claude Marcus, M.D. and Ph.D., is Professor of Pediatrics and head of the Pediatric Division at the Department of Clinical Science, Intervention and Technology, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden. Dr. Marcus specializes in pediatric endocrinology and is head of the Swedish National Childhood Obesity Center. He also maintains a nationwide register for childhood obesity treatment. Current research includes a large scale school-based prevention project, a national gastric bypass program, and studies on obesity genetics and metabolism.


Professor Luis A. Moreno, Spain

Luis A. Moreno is professor of Public Health at the University of Zaragoza (Spain). He earned his M.D. and Ph.D. at the same University. He studied Human Nutrition and Public Health at the University of Nancy, France. His research activities have been supported by several grants from the Spanish Ministry of Health and the EU 6th Framework Programme (FOOD-CT-2005-007034, FOOD-CT-2006-016181). He is author of more than 80 papers published in peer-reviewed journals. He is coordinator of the EU project HELENA (Healthy lifestyle by nutrition in adolescence), supported by the EU 6th Framework Programme.


Professor Aviva Must, USA
Aviva Must, Ph.D. is a nutritional epidemiologist and Professor of Public Health and of Pediatrics at the School of Medicine, and Professor of Nutrition at the Friedman School at Tufts University in Boston. Dr. Must’s research interests include the epidemiology of obesity, with a focus on long-term physical and psychosocial health consequences of childhood growth characteristics and obesity effects across the lifespan, and identification of critical periods for increased risk of onset and obesity co-morbidities. Her preventive intervention work includes research projects in pre-school and primary school populations. Additional areas of interest and activity include surveillance and survey activities in school-aged children, health promotion among children with disabilities, and weight screening in schools. Dr. Must is a fellow of The Obesity Society where she is also an elected board member. She has served on several national panels in the U.S., most recently the CDC Expert Panel that developed physical activity recommendations for school-aged children. She is an Associate Editor (for Pediatric Obesity) for the journal Obesity.


Dr Fredrika Mårtensson, Sweden
Fredrika Mårtensson, PhD, is an environmental psychologist, senior researcher and teacher at the master program "Nature, Garden and Health" at the Swedish Agricultural University in Alnarp. Her research focuses on children’s outdoor play and environments. She has been investigating the correlations between the quality of pre-school outdoor environments and several other health parameters together with a team including specialists in landscape architecture and medicine. She has shown that a better planning and design of our everyday environment can promote children’s vigorous play and spontaneous physical activity. Of a more general research interest are those restorative processes that are active during outdoor stay and recreation.


Paulina Nowicka, Sweden

Paulina Nowicka is a clinical dietician, M Sc. in exercise and Sports Psychology, at the Childhood Obesity Unit in Malmö, Sweden. Her main research area is management of obese children and adolescents and the effects on self-esteem, family dynamics, nutrition and physical activity. She is also a co-author with Dr. Carl-Erik Flodmark of the first academic textbook in Scandinavia on “Childhood overweight in practice – evidence-based Family Weight School” (Studentlitteratur, 2006). Paulina Nowicka was recently elected as member of the Childhood Obesity Taskforce of European Association for the Study of Obesity (EASO).


Dr Ulf Persson, Sweden

Ulf Persson, Ph.D., is research director at IHE, The Swedish Institute for Health Economics in Lund, holds a position at the Department of Technology and Society, Lund Institute of Technology, Lund University, Sweden, and he is a member of the board at the Swedish pricing and reimbursement authority, the Pharmaceutical Benefit Board, Läkemedelsförmånsnämnden (LFN). He has 25 years of research experience in the development and application of economic evaluation methods in health care, with particular regard to the introduction and utilization of medical technologies. Current research areas include analyses of the economic burden of overweight and obesity, as well as cost-effectiveness studies in anemia, cancer, obesity and cardiovascular diseases.


Dr Angelo Pietrobelli, Italy

Angelo Pietrobelli, MD, is a Pediatric Endocrinologist, who worked with Dr. SB. Heymsfield at the New York Obesity Research Center, Columbia University, New York, USA. Currently, he is Senior Staff Physician at the Pediatric Unit, Verona University Medical School, Verona, Italy. His research mainly focuses on Pediatric Body Composition, as well as Prevention and Treatment of Pediatric Obesity. He is Pediatric Associate Editor of the International Journal of Obesity, Associate Editor of the International Journal of Body Composition Research, as well as Associate Editor of the International Journal of Pediatric Obesity.



Professor Birgitta Strandvik, Sweden

Birgitta Strandvik, MD, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Pediatrics at Göteborg University (2005), is active senior, mainly focusing on fatty acid metabolism in healthy children and children with chronic diseases, and in animal experimental research focusing on the impact on gene expression by fatty acids in regard to programming during the perinatal period for the development of diseases in adults. She has published more than 250 scientific papers and book chapters. During recent years she has been especially interested in the association between essential fatty acids and obesity and the metabolism of these fatty acids during growth. She has had several international commitments, as being President of the European Society of Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, and is at present member of the Board of the International Society for the Studies of Fatty Acids and Lipids (ISSFAL).



Dr Ram Weiss , Israel

Ram Weiss, MD PhD, is a doctor of medicine specializing in pediatric endocrinology who received his training and PhD  at the Yale school of medicine. Dr. Weiss is presently an assistant professor in the department of nutrition and metabolism and the department of pediatrics at the Hebrew UniversityHadassah School of medicine in Jerusalem. The focus of his research is on metabolic derangements in obese children and adolescents with special focus on alterations of glucose metabolism. Other topics of research include the biology of lipid formation and deposition in insulin sensitive tissues and the pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic profile of insulin in different body phenotypes.


Professor Kurt Widhalm, Austria

Dr. Kurt Widhalm is a Professor at the Department of Pediatrics,

University of Vienna, Austria. Professor Widhalm is one of the pioneers in the field of childhood obesity and is an international expert on blood lipids and childhood obesity. Professor Widhalm is also former President of the European Childhood Obesity Group (ECOG).


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The Childhood Obesity Unit, organizing this conference, started in 2001 using a family therapy-based treatment program. The treatment is evidence-based. The treatment team consists of pediatrician, nurse, dietitcian, sports trainer, family therapist and information assistant.
More information on Childhood Obesity Unit, Malmö, Sweden