Domhnall MacAuley is a CMAJ Associate Editor and professor of primary care in Northern Ireland, UK
Is being sedentary the new smoking? Many have posed this question and there are some parallels between how our knowledge evolved about smoking and how it is evolving regarding sitting too much. While the hazards of physical inactivity are now well known, however, there hasn’t yet been the enormous culture change that we have seen in our attitudes towards smoking. When smoking cessation was primarily a medical issue there were modest reductions in smoking rates but it was only with societal change, political will and legislation that we see major impact. There is increasing awareness of the influence of social, cultural and environmental factors in encouraging physical activity but we have yet to see the same ...continue reading →
Dr. Stuart Shanker of York University opened the second day of the conference today with his refreshingly interactive and compelling keynote on the concept of self regulation and how it is related to obesity. He stressed that self-regulation is not the same as self-control; self-regulation is has deeper physiological roots, and is not at all about 'willpower' or similar concepts. Identifying and working to resolve the causes of the underlying stressors that are interrupting self-regulation is the key to addressing this issue, according to Dr Shanker. He spoke about the pervasive and inter-generational impact of toxic stress, which really resonated with conference participants, creating considerable buzz for conversations thereafter.