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Social factors and obesity topic of upcoming Pediatric Healthy Weight Summit

GREENVILLE, N.C.   (Feb. 18, 2010)   —   The effects of families, friends, churches and other social factors on childhood obesity will be the topic of the seventh annual Pediatric Healthy Weight Summit.

The event will be 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 26 at the East Carolina Heart Institute at East Carolina University, 115 Heart Drive. It is hosted by the ECU Pediatric Healthy Weight Research & Treatment Center and aimed at health care professionals.

"The two lifestyle habits that most strongly influence the development of obesity, eating and physical activity, are typically formed in childhood," said Yancey Crawford, program coordinator at the center. "For many children, their families, neighborhoods, faith-based organizations, schools and even virtual communities, such as Facebook and the Internet, can have an enormous impact on the lifelong weight-related habits they establish as well as their thoughts and perceptions about food, activity and their bodies."

The one-day program will increase awareness among participants of the importance of the social environment in treating overweight youth and provide practical tools on ways to use the social environment to promote healthy lifestyle behaviors. ECU Chancellor Steve Ballard will offer opening remarks, and Dr. Laura Koehly from the National Human Genome Institute at the National Institutes of Health will deliver the keynote address, "The Social Context of Adolescent Obesity: Thoughts on a Social Network Approach to Intervention."

Registration is $95 before March 12 and $115 afterward. Online registration is available at

Summit sponsors include the Pitt Memorial Hospital Foundation, the ECU departments of exercise and sport science, physical therapy and continuing studies, and RTI International.

For more information, call Crawford at 252-744-5061 or e-mail


Contact: Doug Boyd | 252-744-2482