ILSI Southeast Asia Region
Bringing you monthly news and information on nutrition and food safety issues relevant to our region
Nutrition, Food Safety and Health

 APRIL 2014



Energy Balance and Active Living: Perspectives on Obesity Prevention
Achieving energy balance has been recognized as one of the key contributors towards weight maintenance and obesity prevention. Recent scientific studies have also shown that energy intake and expenditure change over time in response to one another, integrating the impact of dietary patterns, food components and physical activity, with influence from psychobiological factors such as appetite control and social environment. The half-day seminar ‘Energy Balance and Active Living: Perspectives on Obesity Prevention’ was held on March 22nd, 2014 in Singapore, organized by ILSI Southeast Asia Region, together with the Singapore Nutrition and Dietetics Association (SNDA), and in collaboration with the Health Promotion Board Singapore. The seminar brought together several leading international and regional experts in the field of weight management, energy metabolism, physical activity, and behavior, to share current knowledge and understanding on the complex inter-related components to energy balance, as well as new approaches and intervention programs to positively effect lifestyle changes for better health outcomes and obesity prevention. The presentations from this seminar can be downloaded from the ILSI SEA Region website HERE.
Physical Activity Across the Lifespan: Implications for Obesity
The role of physical activity and exercise in the context of obesity was explored at the symposium ‘Physical Activity and Exercise Across the Lifespan: Implications for Obesity’ held in Kuala Lumpur on March 16, 2014, as a pre-congress satellite meeting to the International Congress of Obesity (ICO) 2014. The symposium was organized by the Malaysian Association for the Study of Obesity (MASO), Universiti Teknologi Mara Malaysia, and co-sponsored by ILSI Southeast Asia Region. Attended by over 170 researchers, health practitioners and industry representatives, the meeting summarized the current knowledge relating to the role of physical activity, exercise and nutrition on obesity to key stages across the lifespan; identified research gaps and potential strategies to address knowledge gaps; as well as identified the main obstacles to translation of research findings. A full report on the symposium is available in the latest issue of the ILSI SEA Region Science InSight newsletter available HERE.
International Congress on Obesity (ICO) 2014  
The 12th International Congress on Obesity (ICO 2014), the official congress of World Obesity (formerly known as the International Association for the Study of Obesity or IASO) was held on March 17-20th 2014 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. ICO 2014 provided the opportunity to gain insights from the world’s leading obesity specialists from over 50 countries and discuss the latest research on all aspects of obesity, including global alliances to reduce the prevalence of obesity and its associated burden of diseases, and new innovative preventive and treatment strategies. The scientific program included a series of Symposia focusing on cutting-edge areas in obesity with key topics such as the role of the gut microbiome in obesity, epigenetics, obesity in children, lifestyle change and maintenance, and how to change public policy. For more information, visit the World Obesity website.

New Weight Management Programme Launch in Singapore

Developed by the Health Promotion Board (HPB) Singapore, the 1 Million kg Challenge is a new nation-wide weight management programme designed to address the rising obesity prevalence (from 6.9% in 2004 to 10.8% in 2010) in Singapore. The aim of the 1 Million kg Challenge, launched on March 15th, 2014,  is to help Singaporeans collectively lose 1 million kilograms over three years through cultivating increased uptake of physical activity and healthier eating behaviours among Singaporean residents. Participants can register online through one of the many roadshows being held as part of the programme launch or through the challenge portal A number of companies throughout Singapore have already pledged to build a healthier workplace by joining the 1 Million kg Challenge.


Childhood Obesity in Thailand 

Obesity in children and adolescents is a major public health problem in many countries, including Thailand. The paperPrevalence of Childhood and Adolescent Obesity in Thailand: A Review’, published recently in the Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand, examined the prevalence rate of overweight and obesity among Thai children and adolescents between 1995 and 2012, with researchers conducting a systematic search of relevant published articles and nutrition survey reports published during this period. The authors noted a difference in prevalence when Thai growth references were used, as compared to when the 2000 International Obesity Task Force (IOTF) references were used, the latter providing a lower estimate of prevalence of obesity. Fluctuating patterns and trends in obesity prevalence were observed with both sets of growth references. The authors concluded that a standard protocol using a single set of child growth standards, similar age categorization, obesity indices, and cut-off points for defining high-risk children should be applied to effectively track the trend of childhood obesity.
Obesity Reviews: Special Issue China 

International journal Obesity Reviews recently published their Special Issue ‘Understanding the Transition in Diet, Activity, Body Composition and Nutrition-related Noncommunicable Diseases in China: the China Health and Nutrition Survey 1991-2011’, with guest editor renowned obesity researcher Barry M. Popkin. This Special Issue highlights a set of papers presented during a symposium session at the International Union of Nutritional Science (IUNS) 20th International Congress of Nutrition held in Granada, Spain, on 17 September 2013. The special issue is available from the Obesity Reviews website.

Nature: Special Feature on Obesity

The current issue of the international science journal nature contains a special feature on obesity in the 'Nature Outlook' supplement. This feature, produced with support from the Nestle Research Center, contains insights from neuroscience, genetics and behavioural science and includes an article on the complicated relationship between the gut microbiome and obesity. The 'Obesity Outlook' is available for open access online HERE

Obesity Australia – ‘No Time to Weight’ Report

Obesity Australia, an independent organization whose mission is to drive change in the public perception of obesity, its prevalence and treatment, launched its report "Obesity: A National Epidemic and its Impact on Australia" on March 27th, 2014. The aim of the report is to increase awareness about obesity, and drive debate among Parliamentarians and policy-makers. The report charts the three-fold increase in overweight and obesity in Australia over the past 30 years, its’ genetic, epigenetic and environmental drivers, and the attempts to address the issue to date. It has been designed as an accessible source and quick reference for all those who interact with overweight and obesity – media, health professionals, schools and workplaces, and the community as a whole. The full report is available to download from the Obesity Australia website.

Upcoming Events

May 2-3
8th Congress of the International Society of Nutrigenetics/Nutrigenomics
Gold Coast, Australia

Seminar and 4th Expert Consultation on Maternal, Infant and Young Child Nutrition
Jakarta, Indonesia

October 8-9

The Gut, It's Microbes and Health

For more information on ILSI Southeast Asia Region activities, please visit

New Publications

Science InSight ILSI SEA Region Newsletter April 2014 

ILSI SEA Region Scientific Programs 2014-15
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