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Physical activity in the prevention and treatment of obesity and its comorbidities

Blair, Steven N. P.E.D., FACSM; Bouchard, Claude Ph.D., FACSM

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: November 1999 - Volume 31 - Issue 11 - p S497
Roundtable Preface

Co-Chairs of the Program Committee

Roundtable held February 4–7, 1999, Indianapolis, IN.

We consider the consensus conference an outstanding success, the result of the contributions and hard work of many groups and individuals. The conference would not have been possible without the financial support of several public and private groups. M&M Mars provided a major grant to ACSM, which allowed us to commit to the conference and initiate the planning process. We are grateful for their substantial support and encouragement. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation provided funds for publication of the review papers and consensus statement in this supplement of Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. Colleagues from the North American Society for the Study of Obesity provided financial support and scientific expertise in planning the program. Knoll Pharmaceutical Company and the International Food Information Council provided unrestricted educational grants to support the program. Several units of the U.S. Public Health Service provided additional financial resources without which the meeting would not have been possible. We are grateful for the support of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases; the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. The National Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity also was a co-sponsor of the conference.

We thank the Program Committee for their hard work and creative suggestions in developing the program. Outstanding scientists from the physical activity and obesity research community who served on the Program Committee were Drs. William Dietz, John Foreyt, James Hill, Gay Israel, and Rena Wing, with Drs. Steven Rizk and Barbara Campaigne as ex officio members.

The Consensus Committee worked long hours before, during, and after the meeting, reviewing the evidence on physical activity and obesity, asking insightful and provocative questions, deliberating the issues, and writing the consensus report. We thank Dr. Scott Grundy for his leadership as Chair of the Consensus Committee and Drs. George Blackburn, Millicent Higgins, Ronald Lauer, Michael Perri, and Donna Ryan for their important contributions.

Twenty-four outstanding and dedicated scientists from around the world accepted the charge of the Program Committee to thoroughly review the evidence of a specific aspect of physical activity and obesity. They met the deadlines of preparing their papers before the conference so that the Consensus Committee could review them before coming to the meeting, participated vigorously in the discussions and debates at the conference, and cheerfully (we think) revised their reports after the exchange of ideas in Indianapolis. Their collected works, along with the Consensus Statement, comprise the material assembled in this special issue of Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. We hope, and expect, that this collection of papers, along with the Consensus Statement, will represent a prime source of information for all those interested in the topic of physical activity and obesity and will provide direction for research and policy in physical activity and obesity for the next several years.

Planning, organizing, and presenting this conference required enormous effort by the dedicated staff of the ACSM. We thank Jim Whitehead, ACSM Executive Vice-President, for his support and leadership throughout the planning process and during the meeting. Dr. Barbara Campaigne, formerly Director of Research at ACSM, was intimately involved in planning the program and provided excellent staff support to the Co-Chairs and the Program Committee. She was instrumental in keeping the process on schedule and in attending to countless details. Jane Gleason joined ACSM shortly before the meeting was held. She came into a challenging situation, in that Dr. Campaigne left ACSM about the time Jane joined our staff. Without missing a beat, Jane worked closely with the Co-Chairs in obtaining the review papers from participants, distributing them to the Consensus Committee, and coordinating many last minute details. Jane worked long hours with the Consensus Committee during and after the meeting as they developed their report. Amy Katzenberger and her staff did their usual outstanding job of handling logistical details for the meeting and in making the meeting a pleasure for the attendees. Other ACSM staff who provided the essential behind the scenes work without which no meeting is successful included Dave Brewer, Bev Brown, Claire Heister, Gail Hunt, Sandy Kuiper, Mark Robertson, and Amy Trobec. We extend our grateful thanks to them and applaud their high level of professionalism.

© 1999 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.