The week of May 19, 2014 was a big one for IPEN. The San Diego Coordinating Center was pleased to host very many IPEN investigators at our “home office” in the Hillcrest neighborhood. Members of the IPEN family from around the world were drawn to San Diego by the ISBNPA (International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity) conference that week. We were honored that several investigators came days or even weeks early to spend time with our research group, including Jo Salmon, Erica Hinckson, Neville Owen, Jasper Schipperijn, Ferdinand Salonna, Irene Esteban, Oscar Viega, Ding Ding, and Klaus Gebel. They attended IPEN and Active Living Research staff meetings, conferred with several staff, and attended trainings organized by Jacqueline Kerr on the UCSD campus. It was the first chance for many of the investigators and IPEN staff to meet each other in person. I want to touch on some of the IPEN-related highlights of the week.
The first official pair of events was Monday’s IPEN Adult Writing Retreat and IPEN Adolescent Accelerometer Training conducted by Kelli Cain. The writing retreat was productive, and investigators worked separately and together on analysis plans, drafting papers, and writing new prospectuses. Attendees appreciated the intensive and detailed instruction on all phases of accelerometer use. We missed Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij who had to cancel her trip due to illness and death in her family. On the other hand, we had a chance to welcome new members into the IPEN family. Anna Timperio encouraged Dr. Mohan and Dr. Anjana from India to attend the IPEN meetings. They are already in touch with our other Indian colleagues Shifalika Goenke and Deepti Adlakha, so I am very hopeful that we will have an IPEN Adolescent study in India in the near future.
Monday evening, Shemi and I had the pleasure of hosting a party at our home. It was wonderful to have so many IPEN investigators and guests together in an informal atmosphere. After a tasty dinner, it got a bit loud because we brought out some percussion instruments so everyone could participate in the entertainment. Rodrigo and Lou were especially helpful in injecting some Brazilian rhythms and inspiring some dancing. Thanks to everyone who attended for making it a great evening and getting us energized for the rest of the week.
After months of planning, Tuesday’s IPEN Adolescent meeting more than met our goals. Our conference room was high-density throughout the day. I believe we had investigators from 12 countries present, which generated great energy. We started with updates from every country, and it was impressive to see the commitment, methodological rigor, and creativity being devoted to the studies. The agenda covered everything from GIS templates and sausage buffers to MAPS-Global and publication plans. It was an intensive day, but I trust everyone found it rewarding. I was especially pleased that the whole Coordinating Center staff was able to make personal connections with the investigators.
ISBNPA started on Wednesday with over 800 attendees. Deanna Hoelscher organized an outstanding conference. I found the opening keynote by Simon Barquera to be particularly memorable because he described several policy successes that Mexico has achieved in recent years, such as a soda tax and school food reforms, despite food industry opposition. It gave me and others hope that healthier policies can be adopted and implemented in other countries. There were many great sessions at ISBNPA, but I want to focus on two notable symposia relevant to IPEN. Erica Hinckson led a symposium on Friday on IPEN-Child that included results from built environment and physical activity studies conducted with children in several countries. Erica described her efforts to develop a collaborative IPEN-Child study that may pool data from existing studies. Please contact Erica for more information.
My personal favorite event at ISBNPA was the Saturday morning symposium organized by Delfien Van Dyck. This session was a landmark for IPEN Adult because it was the first presentation of pooled analysis results. Lead authors were Delfien Van Dyck, Ester Cerin, Jacqueline Kerr, and Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij (which I presented in her absence). Three of the papers dealt with perceived environments and various physical activity and BMI outcomes. I found the results to be strong and informative, and they validated the vision of IPEN. In my role as discussant I mentioned how it has taken us 10 years to progress from the announcement of IPEN in Mainz, Germany to the first symposium of pooled results. I showed a preview of GIS data across the 17 IPEN Adult cities that demonstrated extraordinary variation in walkability. Analyses of the GIS data will be starting very soon. I believe the IPEN Adult study will live up to its promise, thanks to the years of hard work of talented investigators around the world and the Coordinating Center staff. Thanks to all, and the best is yet to come.
I was able to attend a small meeting early Saturday morning in which the leaders of several scientific organizations discussed how they could coordinate their efforts to improve the translation of physical activity and nutrition research into policy. This is the right agenda to be discussing, and I hope you will see some concrete actions coming in the next year from ISBNPA, International Society for Physical Activity and Health, Society of Behavioral Medicine, and other related groups. I commend the leaders for coming together for this noble purpose, which is certainly consistent with the goals of IPEN.
After a marathon week of meetings, interactions, and intellectual stimulation, it was time to get the body moving. Some of us organized a bicycle ride around Pacific Beach and Mission Beach on Monday May 26, which was the Memorial Day holiday.
Here are myself, Irene Esteban, Ferdinand Salonna, Javier Molina, Ana Queralt, and Oscar Viega enjoying a bike ride by the beach on Memorial Day.