SBRN Membership Survey

Regular readers of Obesity Panacea will be well acquainted with the Sedentary Behaviour Research Network (SBRN).  As the name suggests it is a network of researchers and clinicians interested in the health impact of sedentary behaviour. Membership is free, and there are now 1,500+ SBRN members worldwide (Disclosure: I am a founding member, and actively involved in SBRN projects). The most recent large SBRN project was the Terminology Consensus Project, which developed consensus-based definitions of…

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Are sedentary kids less physically literate?

Physical literacy refers to the skills, motivation, and knowledge required to live an active lifestyle.  The idea is that kids who lack any of those things are less likely to be physically active.  This is an idea we’ve been talking about on Obesity Panacea for a long time. Physical literacy as a concept makes a lot of intuitive sense – if you can’t skate, you can’t participate in a wide range of ice-based activities.  If…

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Exercise as Effective as Medication for Treating Depression

During a recent medical conference, I learned the unfortunate statistic that physicians have the highest rates of suicide out of any profession, apparently having supplanted dentists. It was jarring to think that these professionals, often idolized in television dramas, and envied by the general population are often struggling with depression, anxiety, and mental and physical burnout. Although the medical profession may be associated with the highest levels of depression and suicide, mental health issues are…

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Break out the tin – it’s our 10 year anniversary

It is hard to believe, but as of this month Obesity Panacea is 10 years old.  There has been a lot of change in that time. When we began, Peter was a year into his PhD, and I was only halfway through my MSc.  At the time we were sharing a small office (and our lunches) at Queen’s University.  The past 10 years have seen several moves for both of us, and we’re now wellllllllll…

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Digital literacy does not mean schools should have kids use screens all the time

Screens are not good for kids’ physical or mental health.  To me, the research is pretty clear.  A systematic review led by Dr Val Carson in 2016 concluded that kids with higher levels of screen time (and especially TV time) were more likely to be overweight, have worse metabolic health, lower fitness, less self-esteem, and exhibit less pro-social behaviour.  There is also a wealth of research suggesting that screens in the classroom can impede learning, mostly…

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Vote for the 2018 Canadian People’s Choice Awards

Exciting news from the folks at the Canadian science blogging network Science Borealis – Obesity Panacea has been named a finalist for their 2018 People’s Choice Awards for Canada’s Favourite Science Blog. If you are so inclined, please feel free to go vote for  any of the deserving blogs at Science Borealis. Thanks to Science Borealis and the Science Writers and Communicators of Canada for promoting Canadian science communication.  

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What I wish I knew before my first Spartan race

Yes, that’s me in the photo above. Pretty damp from a mud bath I was in about 15 minutes before. And mere moments before I tore a healthy hole in my shorts on one of the barbs. Thankfully, I was wearing tights underneath. One of the goals I had for this year was to do something physically challenging. I had been intrigued by obstacle course racing for some time, but was somewhat apprehensive due to…

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How many alcoholic drinks are safe to consume? Zero, apparently.

As most of my friends, family, and colleagues can attest I am essentially a teetotaler. When I was younger and alcohol was forbidden and exotic, I experienced my share of recklessness and fun inevitably followed by illness and headaches. After a few such episodes, I swore to myself that I would never drink that much again. And over the past two decades, I can probably count on two hands the number of times I was…

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Does pop consumption cause obesity? Depends on who funded the research.

Over the years there has been a push to limit the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages. Various jurisdictions have attempted to levy a tax on these products, including Mexico, Finland, Hungary, France, and parts of the United States. Recently, provincial governments in Canada were kicking the tires on a potential pop tax, including the Northwest Territories and Alberta. Any efforts to throttle mass consumption of sugar-sweetened beverage must be backed by irrefutable evidence that these drinks…

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New meta analysis: short activity breaks reduce the impact of prolonged sitting

Over the past 5-7 years research on the health impact of sitting has absolutely exploded.  When I began my PhD there were only a handful of studies that looked at what sitting does to our metabolic health (blood glucose, insulin, triglycerides, blood pressure, etc).  In a systematic review published in 2012, we found just 5 studies on sitting and metabolic health.  Most of the studies up until that point had focused on really extreme forms…

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