Obesity and chronic disease prevention has a place on the agenda of governments and other stakeholders at local, national and global levels. However, as comprehensive as they may be, traditional governmental policies and programs alone cannot reach the scale, scope and speed of changes needed to reverse current obesity and chronic diseases trends.
There is a need foster complex multi-level and cross-sectoral collaboration and innovation to change and sustain individual and family choice in a health-promoting direction. BtS integrates biology, social behavior and the environment to identify what affects everyday choices people make on health related behaviors, such as eating and exercise. It focuses on cognitive neuroscience and biology that underlie these choices, thereby uncovering new ways to influence people’s dietary and lifestyle decision-making. The early thinking stemming from these meetings evolved into the MCCHE’s Roadmap for “Obesity and NCD Prevention and Control”.
2011 3rd Brain-to-Society Roadmap Research Meeting
The 3rd installment of our Brain-to-Society (BtS) Roadmap Research meetings took place in Montreal from March 17-19th, 2011. 150 experts from a broad range of disciplines met to present their research and discuss the BtS Roadmap over the course of three days. Workshops on the first day, March 17th were held on the following topics:
- Environment responsiveness endophenotypes and environmental nutrition-motivation balance
- Multi-actor health ecosystem design
- The role of sleep in obesity prevention
- The healthy eating surveillance and monitoring project
- Transformative innovation for healthy-living: A focus on healthy eating
On March 18th the MCCHE partnered with the UK’s Science and Innovation Network, the Douglas Mental Health University Institute, and the Montreal Neurological Institute to host an international conference on the brain’s role in food and obesity. The objective was to develop innovative interdisciplinary research and for scientists to connect with policy- and decision-makers to foster innovation in science, policy, and business practices.
The workshops on March 19th served to produce a multi-authored article reviewing the neurobiology of obesity, including the state of current knowledge and questions that remained to be addressed for publication as well as to initiate collaborative research projects between the UK and Canada. Four sessions were held throughout the day to focus on the following themes:
- The genetic factors in obesity.
- The neuroscience of obesity.
- The measurement of obesity.
- And the psychological, social, and cultural factors in obesity.
2010 2nd Brain-to-Society Roadmap Research Meeting
This workshop was the second in a series of international roadmap development workshops that identified and developed the projects and subprojects of the Brain-to-Society (BtS) Roadmap, a three-year research agenda.
Approximately 100 participants, from various organizations and disciplines, attended the workshop on September 29 and 30, 2010. The 100 experts considered how they could work together to tackle complex issues at the interface of health and economics. The workshop’s objective was to begin sketching out the portfolio of projects underpining the BtS Roadmap research agenda.
The BtS Roadmap is to act as a catalyst for the implementation of healthy living solutions in the areas of obesity and chronic disease; maternal and child health and nutrition; food and nutrition security; and agriculture, health and the environment.
The first day began with a series of presentations, panels, and plenary discussions in which world experts in science, complex collaboration, and innovation provided insights to help conceive the BtS Roadmap and scale up what it could achieve.
On the second day, seven parallel working groups engaged in meaningful discussions to identify the intended outcomes of various focused research topics and to explore opportunities for innovation and collaboration in the development and implementation of the three-year BtS Roadmap.
The two-day workshop was concluded by a closing dinner featuring a keynote address by the Nobel Peace Prize recipient Dr. Muhammad Yunus and a roundtable discussion on the theme “Can a Social Wall Street Become a Reality? Weaving Nature and Nurture into Finance to Address Health and Economic Challenges of the Poor.”
For a more comprehensive look at this Roadmap Meeting, read September 2010 BtS Roadmap Final Report.
2010 1st Brain-to-Society Roadmap Research Meeting
This inaugural international roadmap development workshop served to identify and develop the projects and subprojects of the Brain-to-Society (BtS) Roadmap, a three-year research agenda. The workshop was held in Toronto, Ontario in June 2010.
Approximately 30 individuals attended the workshop, representing diverse organizations and disciplines, which enabled cross-discipline discussions.
To set the stage for the discussion, the first afternoon was dedicated to a presentation on research related to healthy eating from a variety of disciplines. On the second day, participants were engaged in discussions to identify the key elements for the development of a 3‐year framework for a “Healthy Eating” component of the Brain‐to‐Society (BtS) Diagnostic Project.
The focus of this first effort was on Childhood Obesity and Chronic Disease. The workshop served as a forum for rich cross‐discipline and cross‐sectoral dialogue, and ultimately four priority initiatives were identified to move the BtS Diagnostic Project forward:
- Create a shared knowledge bank to better inform policy decisions.
- Develop models to better understand determinants of healthy eating and leverage them to address obesity.
- Engage industry in understanding the benefits of nutritional leadership and how it can be a win-win business model for them and for society.
- Encourage government to develop an obesity action to take leadership implementing effective policies to address obesity and healthy eating.