Pediatric Obesity

The purpose of the Pediatric Obesity Section is to support and promote scientific efforts to understand the correlates, causes, and consequences of pediatric obesity and to inform its treatment and prevention.


  • Promote networking and collaboration among TOS Pediatric Obesity researchers and practitioners
  • Promote pediatric obesity clinical practice
  • Increase the national visibility of the pediatric obesity section as a leading resource in research, practice, and advocacy


Join us at the annual Pediatric Obesity Section meeting! Each year during the Obesity Society Annual meeting, the Pediatric Obesity Section has a section meeting. This meeting is open to section members and those interested in joining. During the session, the Bar-Or Award for Excellence in Pediatric Obesity Research is presented and followed by a lecture that highlights excellence in pediatric obesity research. The session provides an excellent opportunity to network with other pediatric obesity researchers.

Bar-Or Award for Excellence in Pediatric Obesity Research
The Bar-Or Award was founded in 2007 by the Pediatric Obesity Section of TOS to recognize significant contributions to basic and applied pediatric obesity research that have resulted in major advances in scientific understanding of etiology, prevention, and treatment of pediatric obesity.

Past recipients of the Bar-Or Award:

  • 2013 – Jack A. Yanovski, MD, PhD, National Institute of Child Health & Human Development, NIH
  • 2012 – Tom Robinson, MD, MPH
  • 2011 – Nancy Butte, PhD
  • 2010 – Leann L. Birch, PhD
  • 2009 – Michael Goran, PhD and Melinda Southern, PhD
  • 2008 – William H Dietz, MD, PhD
  • 2007 – Leonard Epstein, PhD

Childhood Obesity Resources


Member Spotlight



October 2014 Newsletter

March 2014 Newsletter

December 2013 Newsletter

September 2013 Newsletter

June 2013 Newsletter

March 2013 Newsletter

November 2012 Newsletter

August 2012 Newsletter

April 2012 Newsletter

January 2012 Newsletter

November 2011 Newsletter

September 2011 Newsletter

December 2010 Announcement

November 2010 Announcement

October 2010 Announcement

August 2010 Newsletter

March 2010 Section Announcement: COMP

March 2010 Newsletter & The Response of the Pediatric Obesity Section of The Obesity Society to the March 16, 2010 Federal Register Request for Comments on the Actions of the Child Obesity Task Force

March 2010 Section Announcement

February 2010 Section Announcement

Join the Pediatric Section

All section members must be a member of The Obesity Society. 

If you are not a member of The Obesity Society, join today.  Be certain to select the Pediatric Section when completing your profile.

If you are already a member and would like to join the Pediatric Obesity Section please login to your member profile and select the Pediatric Obesity Section. Once you have updated your profile, you will receive all communications pertaining to the section.

Please contact Shameeka Green,  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , Volunteer Coordinator, if you have any questions.



Dana Rofey, PhD, FTOS (Chair, 2013-2014)dana rofey

Dana L. Rofey, Ph.D. is currently the Director of Behavioral Health and Community Outreach at the Weight Management and Wellness Center at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and an Assistant Professor at the University of Pittsburgh Medical School. Dr. Rofey earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology at Bucknell University and her clinical psychology degree at the University of Cincinnati with later training in nutrition and exercise physiology. She completed her predoctoral internship at the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System and Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and her postdoctoral training at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic.

She currently is funded by the National Institute of Health and oversees several federally-funded grants aiming to optimize services for adolescents with polycystic ovary syndrome and depression; to enhance motivation and treatment success in health promotion for high-risk children; to investigate the impact that adolescent bariatric surgery has on psychosocial outcomes; and to examine the effects of obesity on the developing brain. She is the author and co-author of numerous articles that have been published in peer-reviewed scientific journals; she also serves as a reviewer for several journals, as well as NIH study sections. She has served as the President-Elect for The Obesity Society Pediatric Obesity Section, the Co-Chair of the Academy of Eating Disorder’s Membership, Recruitment, and Retention Committee and Special Interest Group Oversight Committee, a member of The Obesity Society’s Public Affairs Committee, and the Treasurer for the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies Obesity and Eating Disorders Group.  

Simone French, PhD, FTOS (Chair-Elect, 2013-2014)French

Dr. French is a Professor in the Division of Epidemiology & Community Health in the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota. She has conducted NIH-funded research in the area of obesity prevention for the past 20 years, with a focus on environmental influences. Dr. French's research has evaluated community interventions to promote healthful food choices in settings such as worksites, schools, and households. Dr. French has published over 140 research articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals. She is the founding editor of the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, and is an internationally recognized expert in obesity prevention among youth and adult populations.

Stephen Cook, MD, MPH, FTOS (Secretary/Treasurer, 2013-2014)SCook

Dr Stephen Cook, MD, MPH, is dual trained in pediatric and adult-internal medicine. After completing his residency and a chief resident year in Buffalo NY, he joined the Golisano Children's Hospital at URMC in 2001. He completed an academic pediatric fellowship here, during which time he focused on his research and clinical aspects on nutrition, physical activity, obesity and the metabolic complications that arise. He currently sees patients as part of the general pediatric practice at strong, where he also teaches medical student and residents. He also serves as an attending on the inpatient service at the Golisano Children's Hospital at URMC.

Sara Bleich, PhD (Councilor, 2013-2015)SBleich3

Sara N. Bleich, PhD is an Associate Professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Sara’s research broadly examines the intersection between public policy and obesity prevention/control with a specific focus on: the drivers of obesity, disparities in physician practice patterns of obesity care, and novel environmental strategies to reduce caloric intake. Sara is the past recipient of an Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality traineeship, a Harvard Graduate Prize Fellowship, a Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences dissertation completion fellowship, an award for “most outstanding abstract” at the International Conference on Obesity in Sydney, Australia, and best research manuscript in the journal Obesity, awarded by The Obesity Society. Sara is the current recipient of a K01 Career Development Award from National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute at the NIH and of a Healthy Eating Research Grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Sara holds degrees from Columbia (BA, Psychology) and Harvard (PhD, Health Policy).

Andrew A. Bremer, MD, PhD (Councilor, 2012-2014)BREMER

Dr. Andrew A. Bremer received his MD and PhD degrees from Boston University, is double-boarded in internal medicine and pediatrics, and is subspecialty boarded in pediatric endocrinology. He did his pediatric and internal medicine residencies at the Baylor College of Medicine and his pediatric endocrinology fellowship training at the University of California, San Francisco. He also has a Master's of Advanced Studies Degree in Clinical Research from the University of California, Davis. Dr. Bremer recently left Vanderbilt University, where he was an Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine, to join the NIH. His main clinical interests focus on the prevention and treatment of insulin resistance-related disorders, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, and polycystic ovary syndrome. He also performs epidemiological and clinical research focused on sugar-sweetened beverage consumption among various ethnic groups and its relationship with insulin resistance and its associated clinical conditions.

Deborah Parra-Medina, PhD, MPH (Councilor, 2012-2014)ParraMedina

Dr. Deborah Parra-Medina, PhD, MPH, is a professor at the Institute for Health Promotion Research in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics in the School of Medicine at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. The San Diego native received a bachelor's degree in social sciences from the University of California, Berkeley, a master of public health degree in health promotion from San Diego State University (SDSU) and a PhD in public health (epidemiology) in a joint doctoral program at SDSU and University of California, San Diego. She previously was an associate professor at the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina. Dr. Parra-Medina's research centers on a community-based participatory research model that actively engages investigators in the research process as partners with communities to define problems and identify solutions. She has served as principal investigator for 13 grants totaling more than $8 million, and has published 50 scientific articles, presented at many national conferences and received awards for research, teaching and service. She also has more than two decades of research and program experience in chronic disease prevention with underserved groups, including women, Hispanics, immigrants, youth, and financially disadvantaged populations in diverse geographic and community settings (e.g., rural, urban, border, clinics, and schools).

Amanda E. Staiano, PhD, MPP (Early-Career Representative, 2012-2014)Staiano

Amanda Staiano, PhD, MPP is an Assistant Professor at Pennington Biomedical Research Center and Director of the Pediatric Obesity and Health Behavior Laboratory. Dr. Staiano is currently funded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health which funds the Louisiana Clinical and Translational Science Center, and she was previously funded by an NIH National Research Service Award. Dr. Staiano is a proud graduate of Louisiana State University, the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University, and the Department of Psychology at Georgetown University. Her research interests include the clinical, behavioral, and socio-demographic determinants and correlates of pediatric obesity and its ensuing cardiometabolic risks. Within TOS, Dr. Staiano has served as student member of the Membership Committee and the Public Affairs Committee, has contributed to the TOS Times conference newsletter, and has presented abstracts in both oral and poster sessions at the annual meetings.

Denise E. Wilfley, PhD, FTOS (Past Chair, 2013-2014)

Denise Wilfley is a Professor of Psychiatry, Medicine, Pediatrics, and Psychology at Washington University in St. Louis, and also serves as Director of the Weight Management and Eating Disorders Program at Washington University School of Medicine. Over the past two decades, she has been awarded more than $25 million from the NIH in a programmatic line of research examining the causes, characterization, prevention, and treatment of obesity and eating disorders. Dr. Wilfley has worked to establish the clinical significance of binge eating disorder and advocated for its inclusion in the upcoming DSM-5. She has extensive experience in developing efficacious interventions to treat and prevent obesity and excess weight gain among children and adults. Through her research, she has established the efficacy of family-based behavioral treatment for obesity, pioneering the use of a social facilitation approach to improve sustainability of weight loss outcomes for children and their families. In addition, her work involves the investigation of strategies to tailor treatments to unique characteristics of overweight individuals. Dr. Wilfley is a TOS fellow, has been a member of TOS since 1998, a member of the Pediatric Obesity Section since 2000, and a member of the TOS council since 2011. She currently is a member of The Obesity Society Advocacy Committee and previously served on the TOS Scientific Review Committee, and editorial board of Obesity. She is also the President-elect of the Eating Disorders Research Society. Dr. Wilfley’s vision for TOS Pediatric Obesity Section includes increasing the scope and support of the Section and bringing a greater focus to increasing access to care for overweight children through the dissemination and implementation of evidence-based interventions to “real world” clinical practice.


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