CNS is Celebrating 10 years!

Conference Program 

Draft program - subject to change

7:30 am - 8:30 am Breakfast and engagement with posters and sponsors
8:30 am - 8:40 am Introductions and Objectives
Speakers: James House, PhD and Rupinder Dhaliwal, RD, FDC
Healthy Diets and Weight: Understanding the Connections
Moderator: Alison Duncan, PhD, RD, University of Guelph
8:40 am - 9:10 am Links Between Mental Health and Obesity: from Biology to Behaviour
Speaker: Valerie Taylor, MD, PhD, FRCP, University of Calgary
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In this session Dr. Taylor will outline the various links between mental health issues and weight. She will share the aspects that patients feel are important in order to engage in evidence-based weight management programs. Examples of strategies that have been used to help patients with mental health issues (from less to more severe cases) to successfully engage in effective weight loss programs will be shared. This session will also touch on the similarities for individuals with/without mental health issues in successfully participating in programs.

  1. Increase knowledge on the links between mental health issues and weight
  2. Understand what patients feel is important in order to help them successfully engage in evidence-based weight management
  3. Learn about strategies to help individuals with mental health issues who wish to lose weight achieve success 

About the speaker:

Dr. Valerie Taylor, MD, PhD, FRCP is a Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Calgary. Her academic focus is on obesity, metabolic syndrome and mental health in both adults and children. She is interested in the overlap between  obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and mental illness, the impact of pharmacotherapy on weight and behaviour, and the role of the microbiome. She has over 120 peer reviewed publications and has written a CBT manual on weight management.

9:10 am - 9:40 am Diets and body weight management: Trying to make sense of it all
Speaker: Éric Doucet, PhD, University of Ottawa
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Obesity is an extremely resilient condition. Body weight loss is most challenging and recidivism is rampant. In fact, dietary intervention meant to produce weight loss trigger a number of somewhat persistent adaptations.  Collectively, these alterations increase the drive to eat and decrease energy output. The presentation will be focused on the effects of dietary induced weight loss on appetite and energy expenditure, and on how these changes most likely create a scenario where weight regain is facilitated.

Learning Objectives

  1. Gain knowledge on the effects of different dietary approaches on the outcomes of weight loss programs;
  2. Understand the interplay between energy expenditure and energy intake in overall body weight regulation;
  3. Understand how changes in body energy impact the regulation of energy intake and expenditure;
  4. Appreciate the complexities of weight maintenance after weight loss from an energy balance regulation standpoint.

About the speaker:

Professor Doucet is an expert in the field of body weight regulation in humans. He is a Professor at the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Ottawa, Canada. He obtained his Ph.D. in Physiology and Endocrinology at Université Laval in Québec City in 2001. His current research program focuses specifically on understanding the contribution of physiological and endocrine factors to the regulation of energy stores. He is also interested by the effects of nutrition, eating behaviour and physical activity on energy balance. He has published numerous articles in refereed journals, such as the International Journal of Obesity, Obesity, the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the British Journal of Nutrition and the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition amongst others. He currently serves on the Editorial Board of the British Journal of Nutrition, Frontiers in Physiology and the Journal of Nutritional Sciences.

9:40 am - 10:00 am Q&A
10:00 am - 10:30 am Break
Healthy Diets and Weight: Balancing the Evidence
Moderator: Mei Tom, RD, Alberta Health Services
10:30 am - 11:00 am Why there probably isn’t a “best diet” for weight management
Speaker: Kevin Hall, PhD, National Institute of Health (NIH)
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Losing weight and keeping it off is tremendously difficult because powerful biological responses resist weight loss and promote weight regain. Despite claims of diet gurus, subverting these biological processes is not easy and there may not be any “best diet” for losing weight. This session will describe the quantitative physiology of body weight regulation and explain how the body adapts to wide variations in diet composition.

Learning Objectives:

1. Gain an understanding of the role of clinical studies in providing evidence related to effective weight management strategies
2. Gain knowledge on the strength of evidence supporting the effectiveness of weight management regimens involving variations in diet composition

About the speaker:

Dr. Kevin Hall received his Ph.D. in Physics from McGill University and is now a tenured Senior Investigator at the National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), one of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, MD. His main research interests are the regulation of food intake, macronutrient metabolism, energy balance, and body weight.

Dr. Hall develops mathematical models and computer simulations to help design, predict, and interpret the results of clinical research studies conducted by his laboratory to better understand human nutrition and metabolism. Dr. Hall has twice received both the NIH Director’s Award and the NIDDK Director’s Award, and is the recipient of the E.V. McCullum Award from the American Society for Nutrition, the Lilly Scientific Achievement Award from The Obesity Society, the Guyton Award for Excellence in Integrative Physiology from the American Society of Physiology,and his award-winning Body Weight Planner ( has been used by millions of people to help predict how diet and physical activity dynamically interact to affect human body weight.

11:00 am - 11:30 am Weight Loss and Client Centred Care; Perspectives in Nutrition Counselling
Speaker: Andrea Miller, RD
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In this session, Andrea will discuss how she navigates client perceptions, goals and expectations regarding weight management in an effort to provide realistic nutrition and health guidelines.

Learning objectives:

  1. Increase awareness of (nutrition) counselling style, in relation to diets, weight loss and client goals
  2. Understand how RDs (health care providers) perspective regarding diets and weight influences client care
  3. Learn strategies for counselling in a diet-centric world

About the speaker:

Andrea Miller, RD graduated with honours from Ryerson University's undergraduate program in human nutrition. She completed her dietetic internship at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto and her Master’s degree in Health Sciences at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, in Oshawa. Andrea has worked in a wide range of dietetic practice settings, including Family Health Teams, Long Term Care, Teaching and Community hospitals. Andrea was on the Board of Directors of Dietitians of Canada from 2011-2014 and she has been a National Media spokesperson for Dietitians of Canada. Andrea has been a co-editor for several University textbook chapters, in addition to presenting several times at the annual Dietitians of Canada National Conference. Andrea owns and operates a private nutrition consulting practice in Whitby, Ontario, she is a sessional instructor at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology and she appears regularly in local media in Durham region. 

11:30 am - 11:50 am Q&A
11:50 am - 12:00 pm Morning Wrap-up
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm Lunch / Poster and Exhibitor Viewing / Networking
Healthy Diets and Weight: Translating Evidence into Action
Moderator: Heather Keller, RD, PhD, University of Waterloo
1:30 pm - 2:30 pm        Promising Tools and Programs for Canadian Health Care
Speaker: Paula Brauer, PhD, RD, University of Guelph
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The health care system is challenged to manage the weight issue, yet significant resources are now taken up by the resulting chronic diseases. Over 60% of adults and 1/3 children are now overweight or obese, and 20% of adults have metabolic syndrome.  What programs and investments are needed now and in future to tackle the issues?  Following a brief overview of the body-weight trajectories and current health care services in Canada, Dr Brauer will discuss three health-care projects that contribute to this important discussion: the 2015 practice guidelines of the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care, the development of a population-based planning framework for team-based primary care practice, and the CHANGE program for treatment of metabolic syndrome. 

Learning Objectives:

At the end of the session, participants will:

  1. Gain knowledge of the current organization of obesity prevention and management services in Canada.
  2. Understand the basis for and development of the primary care obesity guidelines and associated learning resources
  3. Become aware of the conceptual basis of the obesity services planning framework
  4. Become aware of the CHANGE diet and exercise program as one example of an effective program in health care

About the speaker:

Paula Brauer PhD, RD, FDC is a dietitian and epidemiologist in Applied Nutrition at the University of Guelph working on obesity services in team-based primary care. Her career has focused on the effectiveness of diet services in health care.  Her research is currently focusing on studies to manage metabolic syndrome (CHANGE project) and promote vegetable consumption using nudge approaches among young adults.  She has been active in promoting primary health care reform in Ontario and was a member of the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care 2010-15. She chaired the Working Group that put out the latest adult obesity guidelines in Jan 2015.  

  Commercial Weight-Loss Programs: Facts & Fiction
Speaker: Kimberly A. Gudzune, MD, MPH, FTOS, John Hopkins Medicine
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Commercial Weight-Loss Programs: Facts & Fiction

The commercial weight-loss industry has been extremely profitable, and their programs are popular options among patients trying to lose weight. However, are these programs effective and safe for patients? Recent weight management guidelines from the American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology/The Obesity Society suggest that clinicians could consider referring to commercial programs that have published, peer-reviewed studies demonstrating their efficacy and safety, but do not offer guidance on which programs meet their criteria. This session will review the available scientific evidence on commercial weight-loss programs.

Learning Objectives

  1. Review the scientific evidence available for common commercial weight-loss programs
  2. Understand how to guide patients’ selection of a commercial program

About the speaker:

Kimberly A. Gudzune, MD, MPH, FTOS
Assistant Professor, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Core Faculty, Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology, and Clinical Research

Dr. Gudzune is board-certified in Internal Medicine and a diplomat of the American Board of Obesity Medicine. She received her bachelor’s degree in environmental biology from the University of Colorado. Dr. Gudzune attended Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana, where she received her doctor of medicine and master of public health degrees. She completed her training in internal medicine at the University of Maryland Medical System. After residency, Dr. Gudzune completed a clinical research fellowship within the Division of General Internal Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She joined the faculty of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine as an Assistant Professor in 2012. She currently practices as an obesity medicine specialist at the Johns Hopkins Digestive Weight Loss Center.

Dr. Gudzune’s research focuses on obesity, specifically how patient obesity influences the healthcare experience, the efficacy of commercial weight-loss programs, and how features of the built and social environment influence diet and exercise habits among low-income urban populations. Her research has won several awards, in addition to being featured by news outlets including The New York Times and National Public Radio. She has been recognized for her outstanding mentoring of trainees with the 2015 Frederick L. Brancati Excellence in Mentoring Award at Johns Hopkins.

  Turning the tide with Health At Every Size® - Time for Change 
Speaker: Maria Ricupero, RD
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Measures used to define 'healthy weight' in clinical practice have many limitations.  Evidence reveals how weight loss as a strategy or treatment for chronic disease management is ineffective and unsustainable for most in the long term. Despite this knowledge, patients are often told to lose weight, which leads to unintended health consequences including, weight discrimination, weight bias, and weight cycling.

This presentation will introduce the audience to Health At Every Size® (HAES®) that advocates for a weight neutral approach in support of health. Controversies to this approach will be discussed and myths dispelled.  Patient anecdotes will reveal the complexities associated with weight loss attempts and the potential detrimental physical, social and psychological effects when weight is a focus. Finally, evidence and case reports will reveal how improved health outcomes can be achieved even in the absence of weight loss.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Recognize the health consequences of weight as a focus.
  2. Gain knowledge of Health At Every Size® (HAES®) principles and the controversies surrounding HAES®.
  3. Identify with the lived experiences of people when weight is a focus.

About the speaker:

Maria Ricupero is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator. She holds a Master of Health Science (MHSc) degree in Nutrition Communication from Ryerson University where she taught as an academic lecturer for an advanced level clinical nutrition course. Maria is published in peer review journals and frequently speaks at professional national and international conferences including: Dietitians of Canada, the International Congress of Dietetics and Peter Munk Cardiovascular Symposium.

Currently, Maria works at the University Health Network, Toronto General as a Practice Leader for Endocrine and Mental Health programs. As a nutrition communicator and media spokesperson for Dietitians of Canada, Maria advocates for a weight inclusive approach in her practice and makes a personal commitment to raise awareness around weight bias by sharing her expertise with patients, colleagues, students and the media whenever the opportunity arises.

2:30 pm - 2:50 pm Q&A
2:50 pm - 3:20 pm Break
Healthy Food and Weight: Pediatric Focus
Moderator: David Ma, PhD, University of Guelph
3:20 pm - 3:50 pm Kids on diets: How the culture of fad diets influences parental feeding and children’s eating behaviours
Speaker: Jess Haines, PhD, MHSc, RD, University of Guelph
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Parents play a key role in the development of children’s eating behaviours.  This session will describe how the culture of fad diets and quick weight loss impacts parents’ feeding practices and health goals for their children. A focus on health behaviours rather than weight loss will be presented as an alternative approach to support children’s healthy eating and growth. Drawing on current evidence, this session will also review recommended feeding practices to support healthful eating in children.

Learning objectives:

By the end of this session, participants will be able to:

  1. Identify how the promotion of fad diets and quick weight loss adversely impacts parental feeding and children’s eating behaviours.
  2. Describe recommended feeding practices to support healthful eating in children. 

About the speaker:

Jess Haines, PhD, MHSc, RD is an Associate Professor of Applied Nutrition at the University of Guelph. Dr. Haines’s research aims to bridge epidemiologic research on the determinants of health behaviours with the design, implementation, and evaluation of family-based interventions to support children’s healthy eating and growth. Along with colleagues at Harvard, she led a study which found that a home-based intervention that targets routines associated with obesity risk, i.e., family meals, sleep, and screen time, can improve weight status in preschoolers. She is currently testing a similar intervention among Canadian families through the Guelph Family Health Study. Dr. Haines is the Director of the Parent-Child Feeding Laboratory, funded through the Canadian Foundation for Innovation. Her laboratory research focuses on identifying how parent-child feeding interactions influence children’s eating behaviours.

3:50 pm - 4:20 pm Discussion Panel and Q&A
Moderators:  James House and Rupinder Dhaliwal
Speakers: James House and Rupinder Dhaliwal 

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