Recently returned from the 3rd International Congress on Physical Activity and Public Health in Toronto. It was a great conference. I spent some quality time with old friends and learned a lot. I’m already looking forward to the next conference in Sydney!
A few highlights of the 2010 edition:
1) George Davey Smith‘s talk entitled “Social Epidemiology at the Forefront of Public Health: In Celebration of the 100th Birthday of Jeremy Morris” celebrated the life of Dr. Jeremy Morris. For those who don’t know Dr. Morris was one of the first researchers to show that physical activity was good for health. He did so by comparing coronary thrombosis between drivers (i.e., sedentary) and conductors (i.e., active) on London’s double-decker buses. Click here for the paper. Dr. Morris did not live see his 100th birthday but was celebrated at the conference and in this NY times article.
For me, the best part of the talk by Dr. Davey Smith and work by Dr. Morris was the insights provided for designing and conducting novel and useful experiments. These ‘novel’ experiments often strike a cord with research communities and general public. The book “Opening Skinner’s Box: Great Psychological Experiments of the Twentieth Century” by Lauren Slater is another great inspiration for conducting novel experiments. Now I just need to come up with one.
2) NEAT (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogensis). Dr. James Levine gave a great keynote about NEAT during the conference banquet. Basically, NEAT is all the energy that we expend from being awake and moving around, but not necessarily while exercising. For example, I am burning small amounts of energy while I type. The idea is that we should all spend more time doing little things can help expend energy. Standing instead of sitting is a big first step.
Here’s an abstract from the British Journal of Sports Medicine 2007;41:558-561
The energy expenditure of using a “walk-and-work” desk for office workers with obesity
James A Levine & Jennifer M Miller