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Epode’s Canada Obesity Forum

Epode canadaAs part of the 4th Canadian Obesity SummitEPODE Canada presents its first Canadian Regional Forum. This one-day workshop is designed for program managers, local community coordinators or program advisors of childhood obesity prevention programs, and to share knowledge and practical advice between EPODE and Canadian programs.

Senior members of the EPODE global team including program managers from programs in Belgium and the Netherlands will share their practical experience on program design, social marketing actions, private public partnerships and program evaluation. Canadian program managers will report on their experience and learnings and discuss barriers and levers to working in the Canadian context. A special workshop on program evaluation, chaired by Dr. Emile Levy of Hospital St. Justine in Montreal will discuss practical approaches to evaluating process and outcomes. A special luncheon presentation on kids and nutrition will be given by the founders of Real Foods for Real Kids. A networking event will be held afterwards for more informal discussion or questions. By attending this landmark event you will find ideas that can help you improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your childhood obesity prevention program.

The cost of the full day workshop includes lunch and the networking event. Attendees can choose to attend only the EPODE Canada workshop or to continue on with the full Summit program and presentations. Program members of the EPODE International Network may attend at a significantly reduced rate.

Learning objectives:

Through these presentations and workshops, participants will learn to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of a community-based childhood obesity prevention program by learning:

  1. The 23 year evolution of the EPODE methodology and its critical success factors. e.g. the four pillars.
  2. Best practices from community-based programs around the world in program design, social marketing actions, private public partnershipsand program evaluation methodologies.
  3. Valuable insights into barriers and opportunities in the Canadian context via experts in the field presenting their findings and experience.
  4. Participants will share knowledge with other similar programs, and become part of a Canada-wide network of childhood obesity prevention programs.

Who should attend:

Anyone interested in improving the efficiency and effectiveness of implementing a childhood obesity prevention programs. This includes:

    • program managers
    • local community coordinators
    • program advisors (academics, health care professionals) of childhood obesity prevention programs

Topics include:

See a full list of topics in our schedule (as of January 19th 2015).

Registration (ends April 28, 2015)

Members of EPODE Canada and the Canadian Obesity Summit receive discounts on registration! Become a member of the EPODE International Network today!

General – $350

EPODE Network members- $225

Registration is now open!  

@DrSharma
Edmonton, AB

 

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Online Course on Weight Bias With Dr. Sara Kirk

Sara Kirk, PhD., Canada Research Chair in Health Services Research, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Sara Kirk, PhD., Canada Research Chair in Health Services Research, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Regular readers will be well of the very real social and health impact of weight bias and discrimination.

Now, Sara Kirk of Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, invites you to join her free Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), on weight bias and stigma in obesity, which will be starting on April 20th 2015 (just a week before the Canadian Obesity Summit in Toronto).

The course builds on Kirk’s extensive research in this area and the dramatic presentation that was created from her findings.

Participants will be able to explore some of the personal and professional biases that surround weight management and that impact patient care and experience.

This will hopefully give health professionals better insight into how to approach individuals experiencing obesity in a respectful and non-judgmental manner and provide strategies to build positive and supportive relationships between health care providers and patients.

While targeted at health care providers, the course should also be of interest to anyone interested in learning more about what weight bias is and how it can impact health and relationships.

Participants who complete the course requirements can apply for a citation of completion (for a nominal fee).

For your FREE registration, please visit the course listing and registration page here.

@DrSharma
Copenhagen, DK

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Guest Post: Feeling Obesity Explores the Role of Emotions in Public Policy

Michael Orsini, Ph.D., Associate Professor. School of Political Studies, University of Ottawa

Michael Orsini, Ph.D., Associate Professor. School of Political Studies, University of Ottawa

Today’s guest post comes from Michael Orsini, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the School of Political Studies, and currently Director of the Institute of Feminist and Gender Studies at the University of Ottawa. He specializes in the study of health policy and politics. He is seeking support for his project, which explores obesity as a case study along with two other cases (funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada). He will be attending the upcoming Canadian Obesity Summit in Toronto and will be meeting with researchers and policy makers who are interested in participating in the project. 

Emotions are central to public policy, yet we have a limited understanding of their influence. Civil society actors are chided for being too emotional or unable to think rationally about policy issues, while bureaucrats and policy makers are accused of being cold, unfeeling beings unable to express basic emotions such as empathy.

In the field of obesity, debates among researchers, policy makers and the general public are characterized by a jumble of complex moral emotions. They can be pitied for their “careless” lifestyles, treated with compassion for inability to make better choices, or become objects of disgust. The roots of obesity are framed in emotion‐ laden terms, with individuals accused of literally ‘eating their feelings’, using food to deal with other, deep‐seated problems. As a societal problem, obesity is difficult to separate from the capitalist system of production. As scholars in the field of fat studies remind us, in our neoliberal age, paradoxically, individuals are exhorted to consumer more and eat less. Talk about a mixed message.

The research project I recently began explores how a series of complex moral emotions such as shame and disgust can structure how we think about policy problems, and reminds us that labelling “good” and “bad” emotions might be misguided. The social science literature on obesity has expanded in recent years, with scholars examining the links between obesity as a pressing policy problem and broader neoliberal projects of responsibilization. While there has been prolonged attention to the health effects of obesity, especially as they relate to children, there are growing concerns about “the globalization of fat stigma”, and how policies purported to help obese people might actually compound their stigmatized status. In addition, weight‐related stigma has extended beyond to include countries with previously positive attitudes toward larger bodies. While Canada has yet to invoke incendiary language likening fat to “a form of domestic terrorism”, governments at both the federal and provincial scales have stepped up their anti‐obesity efforts. Fat acceptance activists challenge the epidemic language summoned to justify (sometimes coercive) policy interventions to deal with obesity, and how it reinforces gendered constructions of idealized bodies.

How do emotions shape the contours of policy in the field of obesity even if there is a general reluctance to acknowledge that emotions might matter in policy making? Moreover, how do emotions interact with evidence‐based policy, in which policy makers are exhorted to base decisions on the best available evidence and resist succumbing to other pressures? Everyone, of course, supports the idea that policy should be rooted in the evidence. Is it possible to imagine otherwise? Yet we know that decision‐making is sometimes based on the flimsiest of evidence. Yes, this is hardly news: politics often gets in the way of enlightened policy making.

Instead I am interested in what happens when we explicitly recognize that emotions might matter in helping us to arrive at collective decisions about what to do (or not) about obesity. How do different orderings of emotions – what some people call “feeling rules” ‐‐ help us to think about the ways in which emotions are discursively managed in complex policy environments? I am focusing on emotions in the field of obesity policy because I think it can help us to better understand the distinctive character of these debates, as well as key concepts that underpin the study of public policy such as rationality, evidence and power. I am particularly interested in hearing from researchers and practitioners who are working on the frontlines about how they manage their own emotional responses to issues related to obesity. Is there a potentially positive role for stigma, as some have argued in the case of smoking cessation programs, which have been successful in demonizing smokers?

The perspective I advance here seeks to move beyond conventional approaches to policy analysis that privilege rationalist forms of inquiry in which “facts” and “data” prevail over values and subjective knowledge. The “success” of some policy actors to contest characterizations of them in policy depends on their ability to challenge the “feeling rules” that govern the policy landscape. Once we expand our analysis to consider the myriad effects of emotions in obesity policy discourse, we will need to reconsider essentialist categories of feeling or unfeeling actors, especially those in stigmatized communities.

For more information and to schedule an interview at the Canadian Obesity Summit, please contact Michael at morsini@uottawa.ca

@DrSharma
Edmonton, AB

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Fear of Fat: Promoting Health In a Fat-Phobic Culture

Screen Shot 2015-03-11 at 10.45.43 PMToday I will be attending a Summit on Weight Bias at the University of Calgary, that will explore the the issue of weight-based discrimination and ways to address this – especially in health care settings.

It should come as no surprise that weight bias and discrimination are a major barrier to providing proper preventive and therapeutic health care due to the widespread attitudes and beliefs about obesity that exist amongst health professionals and decision makers.

The scientific summit, co-sponsored by the Canadian Obesity Network, Campus Alberta, and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), is complemented by a public Cafe Scientifique that will be held on Thursday, March 12, 7.00 at the Parkdale Community Association, 3512 – 5 Ave NW, in Calgary.

For more information and pre-registration for this free public event, which features

Leora Pinhas, MD
Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist, Physician Lead, Eating Disorders Unit, Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences Assistant Professor, University of Toronto

Tavis Campbell, PhD
Professor, Department of Psychology and Oncology & Director, Behavioural Medicine Laboratory, University of Calgary

Yoni Freedhoff, MD, CCFP
Medical Director, Bariatric Medical Institute, Assistant Professor, University of Ottawa

 click here.

@DrSharma
Calgary, AB

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Farmers’ Market’s Questionable Contribution To Health Eating

Farmers-MarketVisiting the local farmers’ market is one of our family’s dearest weekend rituals. It is indeed hard to not come away feeling that you’ve done good for yourself (thanks to the fresh produce) and for the local farmer community.

But this illusion is challenged by Sean Lucan and colleagues from New York in a paper published in Appetite.

The researchers assessed all farmers’ markets in Bronx County (n=26), NY, in terms of specific foods offered, and compareed their accessibility as well as produce variety, quality, and price to that of nearby stores (within a half-mile walking distance, n=44).

Not surprisingly, farmers’ markets were substantially less accessible (open fewer months, days and hours), carried far fewer items and were far more expensive than nearby stores that also sold fresh produce.

The researchers also found that about one third of what farmers’ markets sold was not fresh at all, but rather consisted of refined or processed foods including jams, pies, cakes, cookies, donuts, and juice drinks).

Thus, overall, the researchers conclude that,

“Farmers’ Markets offer many items not optimal for good nutrition and health, and carry less-varied, less-common fresh produce in neighborhoods that already have access to stores with cheaper prices and overwhelmingly more hours of operation.’

So, while there may well be good reasons to celebrate your local farmers’ market, their contribution to improving population health through healthy nutrition, is probably not one them.

They are indeed little more than “feel-good boutiques” for a small minority of the urban population, who values and is willing to pay dearly for the experience.

No surprise there I guess.

@DrSharma
Edmonton, AB

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