Highlight: Obesity SIG

History of SPP Obesity SIG

The Obesity SIG began in 2007 as an unofficial SPP interest group. It began meeting in 2009 at SPPAC, led by founding chair Wendy L. Ward, Ph.D., ABPP and founding vice chair Ann M. Davis, Ph.D., MPH, ABPP.  The Obesity SIG became an official SIG of Division 54 in 2010 and held its first elections in 2013.

The purpose of the Obesity SIG is to provide a forum for communication and collaboration in both clinical and research realms, in order 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. Further details about the history of the Obesity SIG, its inspiring founders, and active leaders and members over the years can be found here:

  • Davis, A. M., Ward, W. L., Armstrong, B., Devine, K. A., & Schurman, J. V. (2017). The rise of special interest groups and their role in Division 54, the Society of Pediatric Psychology. Clinical Practice in Pediatric Psychology, 5(1), 6–14. https://doi.org/10.1037/cpp0000181
  • Ward, W. & Davis, A.  (2021). Reflections from our Founding Chair and Vice Chair.  The Obesity SIG Newsletter Winter 2021.
  • Ward, W. L. & Davis, A.M. (2012). Pediatric Obesity SIG:  News and Views.  Progress Notes.36 (2). 6.

Recent Obesity SIG Activities

The Obesity SIG coordinates several successful programming events at SPPAC each year:

  • Professional development symposia:
    • Last year we enjoyed presenting a professional development symposia focused on weight stigma that was very well attended and facilitated great discussion:
      • Ley, S.L., Bejarano, C.M., Chaves, E., & Beck, A. (2023, April). Addressing Weight Stigma for Professional Pediatric Psychologists. Symposium presentation at Society of Pediatric Psychology Annual Conference, Chicago, IL.
    • This upcoming year at SPPAC 2024 we will be partnering with the Eating Disorders SIG to present:
      • “Ethical Issues at the Intersection of Pediatric Obesity and Eating Disorders”
    • Student programming:
  • The Student Representative (past, Dr. Carolina Bejarano; current: Madison Weinstock) for the Obesity SIG organizes Stroll with a Mentor, which connects trainees with professionals for mentoring and networking in their field, while promoting physical activity. This has fostered great connections over the years!
  • Our Research Chair, Dr. Cathy Stough, coordinates invited students to present their SPPAC abstract submissions during the Obesity SIG meeting. This is a great opportunity for students to showcase their excellent work.
    Physical activity programming:
  • The Obesity SIG has successfully organized physical activity programming at SPPAC each year, spearheaded by subcommittee chair and past president Dr. Wendy Ward. This has included yoga taught by subcommittee chair Dr. Kim Reynolds. We have also worked with physical activity providers locally at the conference location to provide cardio sessions and other activities.
  • We have some exciting plans in the works for physical activity at SPPAC 2024. Stay tuned!

The Obesity SIG has also recently started a Social Media Committee, led by student members Miranda Frank and Maddie Haring. They help highlight important research, advocacy, and clinical information relevant to the field. Follow us @SPP_Obesity_SIG !

Current Leadership:

Executive Committee 2023-2025
Chair: Eileen A. Chaves, Ph.D.
Chair-Elect: Sanita Ley, Ph.D.
Secretary: Carolina Bejarano, Ph.D.
Student/Trainee Member at Large:  Madison Weinstock, MS
Past Chair: Jason E. Boye, PhD, ABPP

Subcommittee Chairs:
Advocacy: Kimberly Reynolds, Ph.D., ABPP and Rebecca Kamody, Ph.D.
Bariatric Surgery: Eileen A. Chaves, Ph.D.
Newsletter: Adelle Cadieux, PsyD
Technology and Website Development: Jason Boye, Ph.D., ABPP
Social Media Committee: Miranda Frank and Maddie Haring

SPPAC Planning:
Research: Cathy Stough, Ph.D.
Physical Activity: Wendy Ward, Ph.D., ABPP, FAPA, FNAP
Stroll with a Mentor: Madison Weinstock, MS

More Information and How to Join

SPP members can join the Obesity SIG by logging into the Member Portal and going to "Join a SIG/RIG/Affinity Group" on the dropbox, and selecting Obesity SIG.

You can check out both of our websites for more information:

Obesity Special Interest Group - Society of Pediatric Psychology (pedpsych.org)