Pediatric Obesity SIG : News and views

The Pediatric Obesity Special Interest Group aims to educate, train, and mentor psychologists who care for overweight / obese youth and to advocate for the coverage of obesity-related psychology services

By Wendy L. Ward, PhD, and Ann M. Davis, PhD

The Society of Pediatric Psychology’s Pediatric Obesity SIG provides a forum for communication and collaboration in both clinical and research realms to further the field’s knowledge of developmental and contextual factors contributing to the etiology of obesity, course and outcome of pediatric obesity, assessment and treatment of behavioral and emotional comorbidities, and obesity prevention initiatives. The SIG also aims to provide education, training, and mentoring of psychologists in the care of overweight/obese youth and advocacy for public policy and to advocate for the coverage of obesity-related psychology services. For specific needs within these goals, the following active SIG subcommittees have been created: Clinical Issues, Research Issues, Assessment/ Measurement, Advocacy, and the addition of several more are currently under consideration.

Background and Membership

The Pediatric Obesity SIG began as an unofficial interest group in 2007. In 2010, Division 54 officially approved the SIG. The current SIG chair is Wendy L. Ward and vice chair is Ann M. Davis. The SIG has an active email list with 88 current members—a nice feature for communicating specifically with other pediatric psychologists working with or interested in pediatric obesity. The SIG is expanding the number of leadership positions— chair, chair elect, secretary, program chair—and holding elections in early 2013 and annually thereafter.


The SIG sponsors physical activity options at national and regional conferences. At the Midwest Regional Conference in April, 2012, the SIG had information available including a map of local walking/running options. For future conferences, we are discussing strengthening this option to include not only a map for those who want to exercise on their own, but also a group run/walk one morning of the conference. We are also considering adding a Yoga/Pilates option on one of the other conference mornings. Supporting the health and wellness of all SPP members is an additional goal of our SIG.

How to Join

The Pediatric Obesity SIG encourages active members interested in research or clinical treatment of overweight or obese children and adolescents, or those who are interested in prevention of obesity and a variety of comorbid medical and psychological conditions to join our SIG. There are no dues for the SIG, but membership in Division 54 is required. Requests to join SIGs should be sent to the Karen Roberts, SPP Administrative Officer, who will confirm SPP membership.

For more information, please contact Wendy Ward or Ann Davis.