On March 11-12, 2008, St. Georges University (SGU) in collaboration with the Windward Islands Research and Education Foundation (WINDREF) will host a Symposium on Childhood Obesity to be held in the Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine in the School of Medicine. This event is being funded by a $50,000 USD grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), one of the world’s largest private philanthropies which, for over thirty years, has been devoted exclusively to improving the health care of those it serves.
This is the first time SGU, through the Windward Islands Research and Education Foundation (WINDREF), has been the recipient of a RWJF grant. Through this Symposium, SGU intends to continue the Foundation’s mission by addressing the concerns of childhood obesity as an urgent public health problem. WINDREF/SGU have invited a panel of world-renowned specialists in the fields of Public Health, Childhood Obesity, Communications, Nutrition, Law and Bioethics to raise awareness and identify solutions to the obesity epidemic.
Invited participants will address the epidemiologic, ethical and anthropologic issues inherent in societal approaches to childhood obesity. Topics will include: state of the science on health risks and causality, ethical issues on interventions when knowledge is incomplete and anthropologic approaches to policies and programs affecting multiple risks simultaneously.
The ultimate purpose of the Symposium is to provide information which will directly impact evaluations and programs in childhood obesity, as well as future research in each of the panel areas. Speaker recommendations will be assembled into a white paper suitable for publication in a peer-reviewed format. Oxford University Press is currently evaluating a proposal for publication.
The overall success of this program will be measured in the publication of results, and how they influence funding and evaluation activities in the coming years.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation provides grants for projects in the US and US territories that advance its mission to improve health and healthcare for all Americans. Reversing the childhood obesity epidemic by 2015 by improving affordable healthy foods and increasing opportunities for physical activity in school communities, is one of several specific goals of the Foundation. SGU and WINDREF are proud to support the RWJF in its initiative.