Virtually Healthy: Internet conference illustrates increased knowledge about weight management
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Internet conference illustrates increased
knowledge about weight management
By Lisa Gable, Executive Director, Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation
The healthy weight movement took a big step this month
with the first virtual conference on the future of weight management – a day-long
Internet symposium on innovation across the weight-loss industry.
Weight Management 2010
Virtual Conference & Expo covered a wide range of areas important to the future of
weight management. Participants included leading voices in these key areas.
But perhaps the most impressive aspect of the virtual
conference was the way it demonstrated the dynamic nature of weight management.
The over 900 people who attended got the
opportunity to learn more about the cutting edge science of probiotics and
prebiotics, new weight control practices and nutritional ingredients, product
reformulation, and the technique of satiety (products that promise to fill you
up for a longer period of time).
Attendees from around the world spent on average more
than two and a half hours at the virtual conference. This global audience was
comprised of 56 percent of attendees from North America, 28 percent from
Europe, eight percent from Asia, seven percent from South America, and one
percent from Africa. The food, beverage and dietary supplements industry was
well-represented, constituting 64.5 percent of the audience. And just over 60
percent play a role in purchasing decisions.
The level of expertise and information made it easy to
forget an important fact: Some of these products and practices were barely
heard of just a few years ago. Now, they have the potential to dramatically
reduce obesity and help millions achieve and maintain a healthy weight. It
almost seems like advancement in this area is best measured in dog years – a
7-1 ratio over the calendar.
While one cannot forget the enormity of the challenge
America faces in this area, one also cannot help but be impressed by the amount
of resources, energy and know-how that is being summoned to address the
A quick summary of the conference program gives a
sense of the substance behind it, and the potential for significant
As I said, the conference covered a lot of ground. If
you missed it, it is available, free of charge, at www.weightmanagementshow.com (for a year). It runs
eight hours (1 hour per session) and is worth the time. Bringing together
high-level presenters to address cutting-edge topics, it is an opportunity to
get a lot of perspectives on weight management – and find out how many
dimensions the issue has, and how much we are learning about it.
- State of the Market: After Atkins and Beyond included a speaker
who publishes a leading market research publication charting the rise of
the $20-billion weight management sector with special focus on dietary programs to achieve weight management, from Atkins to GI
(Glycaemic Index) and Weight Watchers.
- Satiety Fills Up the Weight Management Options focused on the
growing market of products that promise to fill you up longer, discussing
how the science works, which products can support their claims, and which
concepts are on the horizon – featuring a professor of experimental
psychology at University of Sussex as speaker.
- The Three Phases of Weight
Control™- A New, Natural Approach to Controlling Hunger, Starches, and
Sugar put the spotlight on Pharmachem’s three-part method to helping consumers
control their weight, based on how they gain it (overeating or too much starch or sugar).
It included a speaker with extensive experience as a
pharmacist and certified fitness instructor.
- Tonalin® CLA - Delivering
Core Value – Executives of Cognis
Nutrition & Health provided an overview of the health benefits of conjugated linoleic acid and the nutritional
ingredient Tonalin®, including a review of extensive clinical studies and
the product’s impact on body fat reduction, and prevention of fat regain.
- Gut Health and Obesity: The
Promise of Pre- and Probiotics – Given the gut microflora of obese people is different from their lean
counterparts, this session brought together a
researcher for Nestlé and a professor from the Metabolism and Nutrition
research group at Belgium’s Universite Catholique de Louvain to discuss probiotics and prebiotics, where the science stands,
where it is going, and how it could be used to help shrink waist sizes.
- Reformulating for Weight
Management Success featured a panel of stakeholders from industry, academia and
consumer groups to discuss the interlinking issues of reformulation, portion control, and nutrition labeling.
- Health Claims: Building the
Science, Navigating the Regulations looked
at how to build the science to substantiate a proposed weight-management
based health claim, and what an agency like the US Federal Trade
Commission looks for when it evaluates such claim, with a science leader
from Unilever and an attorney from the Federal Trade Commission.
- The Skinny Carbs Trend reviewed how foods high in carbohydrates seem to be making a comeback. An
author, R.D., and nutrition food editor discussed the weight-loss benefits
of eating starchy
foods as part of a sensible eating plan.
Lisa Gable is Executive Director
of the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation, a first-of-its kind coalition that
brings together more than 125 retailers, food and beverage manufacturers,
restaurants, sporting goods and insurance companies, a professional sports
organization, NGOs, trade associations, and the U.S. Army.