The BEACH Lab had a unique opportunity to attend the 2014 SEC Symposium focused on “Prevention of Obesity: Overcoming a 21st Century Public Health Challenge” in Atlanta, Georgia from September 21-23, 2014. The 14 SEC schools plus a number of other academic institutions were in attendance for this year’s symposium led by the University of South Carolina. The conference featured new ideas on obesity from a range of approaches such as genetics, early life, workplace, and environmental influences.
Dr. Kaczynski presented his poster “Examining the Efficacy of Point-of-Decision Prompts for Encouraging Park-based Physical Activity” on Sunday during the first poster session. Co-authored with the BEACH Lab’s Gina Besenyi as well as Lisa Groshong and Sonja Wilhelm Stanis from the University of Missouri and Aaron Hipp from Washington University in St. Louis, this study used an online experiment to assess whether signs with theory-based messages in parks could influence park users’ intentions to be physically active. During the second poster session on Monday, Morgan Hughey presented “Exploring Disparities in Obesogenic Environments: Park Availability, Features, and Quality in Greenville County, SC” in which she examined whether diverse aspects of parks were equitably distributed across Greenville County according to income and race/ethnicity. Finally, Gina Besenyi, along with undergraduate research assistant Mara Steedley, presented their abstract on “eCPAT: Development and Testing of Mobile Technology to Engage Youth in Active Living Policy, Systems and Environmental Health Promotion Efforts”, which described the beta-testing process for the new eCPAT app with a group of 19 youth in Greenville, SC.
Overall, the SEC Symposium was a great experience and allowed us to interact with an array of professionals and students as well as catch up with old friends and colleagues from across the Southeast. We enjoyed sharing our projects with attendees and combining efforts with like-minded public health professionals and students to fight obesity.