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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:

  • 2014 – Mary Story, PhD
  • 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.



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


University of Minnesota, Minneapolis MN

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 (Chair-Elect, 2014-2015)


University of Rochester, Rochester, NY

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.

Youfa Wang, MD, PhD, MS (Secretary/Treasurer, 2014-2015)

Youfa Wang

University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY

Youfa Wang, MD, PhD, MS, is Professor and Chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Environmental Health at the School of Public Health and Health Professions in the University at Buffalo (UB), SUNY.  Before joined UB in the Fall of 2013, he was the founding Director of the Johns Hopkins Global Center on Childhood Obesity, in the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health and School of Medicine. At present he is also an Adjunct Professor at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health and School of Medicine and in Peking University School of Public Health in China. Dr. Wang received his PhD in Nutritional Epidemiology in 2001 from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, his medical degree from Beijing Medical University in 1992, and his master's degree in Epidemiology from the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking Union Medical College in 1995. An internationally-known expert, he has over 150 publications including 127 peer-reviewed papers. His research interests focus on obesity; nutritional epidemiology; child health; childhood; non-communicable chronic diseases (NCDs); health disparities; global health; and the application of systems science methods in public health. over the past 13 years he has secured, as the principal investigator, about $23 million in NIH research funding, including multiple NIH R01s and an NIH center grant. Most of his research has focused on obesity (assessment, global trends, causes, health consequences, prevention) and NCD-related topics. He has directed major NIH-funded domestic and international collaboration projects. He has served on numerous national and international expert panels, review committees and leadership positions, including serving on over 20 NIH and CDC grant review committees, as a United Nations consultant, and as Chair of the Nutrition Epidemiology RIS of the American Society for Nutrition (ASN). He has also played leadership roles in The Obesity Society (TOS).  Dr. Wang has demonstrated passion and leadership in various leadership positions and has contributed to the field and his academic societies including TOS. If he becomes the Secretary/ Treasurer, he will help promote POS, including helping develop new initiatives, supporting members' research and career development, including promoting diversity in its leadership and general membership. He will help foster collaborations with other related societies.


Stephanie Anzman-Frasca, PhD (Early Career Representative, 2014-2016)Stephanie Anzman-Frasca

Tufts University, Medford, MA

Stephanie Anzman-Frasca, PhD, is a postdoctoral research associate and adjunct instructor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. Her research interests center on interactions between individual factors, such as self-regulation abilities, and aspects of the environment, in predicting child weight outcomes over time. She is also interested in how these links can be applied to modify obesity risk early in life and how obesity prevention efforts could benefit other aspects of child health and well-being. Dr. Anzman-Frasca received a bachelor's degree in Psychology from Bucknell University and MS and PhD degrees in Human Development and Family Studies from Penn State University, where her dissertation research explored intersections between infant temperament and early obesity risk in the context of a behavioral obesity preventive intervention targeting first-time parents and their infants. Her current focus is on research pertaining to multiple initiatives of ChildObesity180 at Tufts University, an organization seeking to reverse the trend of childhood obesity through a multi-sector approach and large-scale initiatives, including efforts to promote healthy eating within out-of-school-time environments and restaurants. Dr. Anzman-Frasca is an active member of TOS and has presented consistently at the society's annual meetings, including a plenary oral presentation in 2008. She won a Pediatric Obesity Section Poster of Excellence award in 2013 and is enthusiastic about continued involvement with the Pediatric Obesity Section.


Amanda E. Staiano, PhD, MPP (Councilor, 2014-2016)

Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Baton Rouge, LA


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.


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

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD

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).


Jack A. Yanovski, MD, PhD (Councilor, 2014-2016)Jack Yanovski

National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD

Jack A. Yanovski, MD, PhD is Chief of the Section on Growth and Obesity, in the Program in Developmental Endocrinology and Genetics of the intramural NICHD, NIH.  He obtained his medical degree and PhD in Physiological Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania.  After completing residency training in Pediatrics at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and fellowship training in Pediatric Endocrinology at the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Yanovski founded the NIH's Unit on Growth and Obesity. Dr. Yanovski's studies related to the evaluation and treatment of pediatric obesity include longitudinal examinations of hormonal and psychological factors as predictors of weight gain, treatment studies using pharmacotherapy, laboratory investigations of hyperphagic behaviors such as binge eating and eating in the absence of hunger, and evaluations of the roles of leptin signaling pathway genes, such as the melanocortin 3 receptor and brain-derived neurotrophic factor.  Dr. Yanovski has authored/co-authored over 200 published scientific manuscripts. He has previously served TOS as Councilor, Pediatric Obesity Section (2007-2009), Chair/co-Chair, Annual Scientific Meeting (2008-2009), Chair, Program Committee Clinical Studies Track (2005-2006), Chair (2001-2003) and Member (2006-2008 and 2011-2015), Education Committee, Member, NAASO Finance Committee (2003-2005), and Councilor, NAASO (2000-2003). Dr. Yanovski has received the Pediatric Obesity Section's Bar-Or Award for Excellence in Pediatric Obesity Research, the Public Health Service's Outstanding Service Medal for innovative studies on obesity, and the NIH Director's Ruth L. Kirschstein Mentoring Award.



Dana Rofey, PhD, FTOS (Past Chair, 2014-2015)

Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA

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.



Steven Heymsfield, MD, FTOS (Council Liaison 2014-2016)Steven Heymsfield

Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Baton Rouge, LA

Steven B. Heymsfield, M.D. is the Executive Director of Pennington Biomedical Research Center of the Louisiana State University System and he holds the George A. Bray, Jr. Chair in Nutrition. Previously he was the Global Director of Scientific Affairs for the obesity franchise at Merck & Co. where he oversaw scientific aspects of the Company's obesity drug development program. Dr. Heymsfield received a degree in medicine from Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and he completed his internship and residency at Emory University, continuing on to become a Fellow in Medicine prior to his Columbia University appointment as Professor of Medicine and Deputy Director, New York Obesity Research Center, in 1986. Dr. Heymsfield has published more than 450 peer-reviewed papers covering topics such as obesity, anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, malnutrition, pregnancy, body composition, and caloric expenditure. His contributions to the study of human nutrition led to the TOPS Award from NAASO, the Rhoads Award of the American Society of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition, and the Forbes Memorial Award Lecture, International Society of Body Composition Research. He was honored for his role in the FDA ban on ephedra, receiving the 2004 NYC Mayor's Award for Science and Technology. Dr. Heymsfield was elected Fellow of the American Society for Nutrition in 2009 and Fellow of the American Society of Parental and Enteral Nutrition in 2012a. In addition to his strong interest in biological method development, Dr. Heymsfield maintains an active clinical research program, extending his earlier research at Columbia University. Dr. Heymsfield is past President of the American Society of Clinical Nutrition and of the American Society of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition.




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