New Obesity Society Targets Policy


SAN DIEGO — The recent merger of two obesity associations to create the Obesity Society is expected to consolidate efforts to influence government programs and funding for the obesity epidemic, Richard M. Downey, J.D., said at a symposium on obesity sponsored by the American Society of Bariatric Physicians.

Mr. Downey is a staff member for the North American Association for the Study of Obesity, which has been renamed the Obesity Society.

In December 2006, the organization completed a merger with the American Obesity Association, where he previously served as executive director.

The new Obesity Society will push for creation of a National Institute of Obesity Research, he said.

The Obesity Society is likely to demand better evaluation of obesity prevention programs, Mr. Downey said. The lack of coordination and evaluation of programs to prevent childhood obesity makes it difficult to learn from experience and replicate successes, a recent Institute of Medicine report suggested.

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