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Participants Include U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona; ABC News Anchor Peter Jennings; Chairman of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports Lynn Swann; Dr. Dean Ornish; Dr. T. Berry Brazelton and Others


New York, April 12, 2004 — TIME magazine and ABC News are inviting leaders to a groundbreaking summit to address the nation’s obesity epidemic and to propose solutions.

“Obesity is such an ugly word that many Americans who are obese shy away from discussing the problem," says Jim Kelly, Managing Editor of TIME magazine. “But getting over that shame is the first step in understanding the complex reasons why a growing number of Americans are seriously overweight. This conference is about offering solutions, not about finger wagging."

The TIME/ABC News Summit on Obesity is set for June 2-4, 2004, in Williamsburg, Va. The Summit is presented by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the nation’s largest philanthropic organization devoted exclusively to health and health care.

“The number of obese adults in the United States has doubled over the past several decades, but the trends among our nation’s children are even more alarming,” says Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, M.D., President and CEO of The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “If we don’t do something to reverse these trends, we will raise the first generation of Americans to live sicker and die younger than their parents.”

Almost one in every three American adults is obese, up from nearly one in four just 10 years ago. From 1960 to 2000, obesity rates among U.S. adults ages 20 to 74 have more than doubled, rising from 13.3% to 30.9%. Fifteen percent of children ages 6 to 19—a total of 9 million children—are overweight or obese, up from 5% in 1980. Studies suggest overweight teens have an 80% chance of becoming overweight adults.

“Obesity is not a matter of private choice, it’s a matter of public health,” says David Westin, President of ABC News. “What are the responsibilities of individuals, families and schools? What role can science play? What about the government and the media? We will examine the root of the problem and discuss realistic solutions.”

“Our intent, in hosting the Summit on Obesity, is to gather leaders who can discuss and propose solutions and help enact change. We are inviting CEOs from food, beverage, insurance, pharmaceutical and health-care companies; researchers and educators; physicians; nutritionists and fitness experts; government officials and policymakers; marketers; journalists; and concerned citizens,” says Eileen Naughton, President of TIME magazine.

TIME magazine’s decision to create a platform for discussion and action was prompted by the U.S. Surgeon General, Vice Admiral Richard Carmona, M.D., who discussed the gravity of this national health crisis at TIME’s “The Future of Life” conference in March 2003. “As we look to the future and where childhood obesity will be in 20 years,” Carmona said, “it is every bit as threatening to us as is the terrorist threat we face today. It is the threat from within.”

In addition to the Summit, TIME magazine and ABC News are planning special reports that will be published and aired the first week of June. Participating ABC News broadcasts include Good Morning America, World News Tonight with Peter Jennings and Nightline. Peter Jennings will anchor World News Tonight from the conference on Thursday, June 3. Additional reports and coverage will be provided by TIME.com and ABCNEWS.com, as well as by ABC News Radio and ABC News Live.

TIME magazine and ABC News are working with a Board of Advisers to develop the program. The Summit will feature experts from a wide range of fields. The program is under development; more speakers are being invited. To date, scheduled speakers and participants include:

- T. Berry Brazelton, Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, and Founder, Child Development Unit, Children’s Hospital, Boston; co-author, Touchpoints Three to Six: Your Child’s Emotional and Behavioral Development and Brazelton’s Way series, including Discipline, Feeding Your Child

- Kelly D. Brownell, Professor and Chair, Department of Psychology, Yale University, Director of the Yale Center for Eating and Weight Disorders, and author of Food Fight

- United States Surgeon General, Vice Admiral Richard H. Carmona, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.S., Commander, USPHS Commissioned Corps, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

- Majora Carter, Executive Director, Sustainable South Bronx

- Susan Combs, Commissioner, Texas Department of Agriculture

- Peter B. Corr,PhD, Senior Vice President, Science and Technology, Pfizer Corp.

- Stephen R. Daniels, M.D., Cincinnati Children’s Hospital

- Jean Pierre Despres, Professor, Department of Sciences of Food and Nutrition, Laval University

- William Dietz, M.D., Director, Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

- Philip Elmer-DeWitt, Sciences Editor, TIME Magazine

- Mark Fenton, host, PBS series “America’s Walking,” and author of The Complete Guide to Walking for Health, Weight Loss and Fitness

- Lawrence D. Frank, Bombardier Chairholder in Sustainable Urban Transportation, School of Community and Regional Planning, University of British Columbia

- Jeffrey M. Friedman, M.D., Marilyn M. Simpson Professor and Director of the Starr Center for Human Genetics, Rockefeller University; Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

- Ann M. Fudge, Chairman and CEO, Young & Rubicam

- James O. Hill, Professor of Pediatrics, Director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center; a key developer of Colorado on the Move and America on the Move programs, co-founder of the National Weight Control Registry

- Mike Huckabee, Governor of Arkansas

- Peter Jennings, Anchor and Senior Editor, ABC News World News Tonight

- Timothy Johnson, M.D., Medical Editor, ABC News

- Jim Kelly, Managing Editor, TIME magazine

- Richard E. Killingsworth, Director, Active Living by Design

- Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, M.D., President and CEO, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

- Brock Leach, Senior Vice President, New Growth Platforms, and Chief Innovation Officer, PepsiCo Inc.

- Julia Lear, Director, Center for Health and Health Care in Schools, sponsored by the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services and the Graduate School of Education and Human development

- Peggy Lee, Food Services Director, Chesapeake City Schools, Virginia

- Alice H. Lichtenstein, Professor of Nutrition and Policy, Tufts University

- Frank Lipman, M.D., Founder, Eleven Eleven Wellness Center

- JoAnn E. Manson, Professor, Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health

- James Marks, M.D., Director, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

- Marion Nestle, Professor and Chair, Department of Nutrition, Food Studies and Public Health, New York University, and author of Food Politics

- Dean Ornish, M.D., Founder, President and Director, Preventive Medicine Institute; Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco; author, Dr. Dean Ornish's Program for Reversing Heart Disease; Eat More, Weigh Less; Everyday Cooking with Dean Ornish, MD, and Love & Survival.

- Mehmet Oz, M.D., Professor of Surgery, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons

- Barry M. Popkin, Professor of Nutrition and Head, Division of Nutrition Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

- Susan Roberts

- James F. Sallis, Professor of Psychology, San Diego State University, and Director, Active Living Research

- Marva Smalls, Executive Vice President, Public Affairs, and Chief of Staff, Nickelodeon

- Joshua D. Sparrow, M.D., Assistant Professor in Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, and Supervisor of Inpatient Psychiatry, Children’s Hospital, Boston; co-author with T. Berry Brazelton, Touchpoints Three to Six: Your Child’s Emotional and Behavioral Development and Brazelton’s Way series, including Discipline, Feeding Your Child - Kari Stefansson, M.D., Co-founder, President, Chief Executive Officer, deCODE Genetics Inc.

- Thomas F. Stenzel, President and CEO, United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association

- Michael Suk, White House Fellow, Special Assistant to the Secretary, U.S. Department of the Interior

- Lynn Swann, Chairman, President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports

- James Tillotson, Director, Food Policy Institute, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University

- Stuart Trager, M.D., Chairperson, Atkins Physicians Council

- Mary E. Walsh, Director, Boston College Center for Child, Family and Community Partnerships

Registration for the Summit is open but limited. For information, visit www.time.com/obesity or call 1-877-860-7697.

Prices are $1,695 (early registration until May 3), $1,995 (late registration) and $1,395 (government/academic/nonprofit).

Additional support for the TIME/ABC News Summit on Obesity has been provided by Aetna, America’s Milk Processors and the New Balance Foundation.

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TIME magazine: TIME, published since 1923, is the world’s leading print brand for news and information, with a worldwide circulation of more than 5.3 million, and a global audience of 28.5 million readers.

ABC News: For more than 50 years, ABC News has been one of the most respected names in journalism. ABC News, ABC News Radio and ABCNEWS.com reach more than 200 million people a week.

Presented by:

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is the nation’s largest philanthropic organization devoted exclusively to improving health and health care for all Americans. The Foundation invests in initiatives that create meaningful and timely change and help people lead healthier lives.

Additional support provided by:

AETNA is dedicated to helping people achieve health and financial security by providing easy access to safe, cost-effective, high-quality health care and protecting their finances against health-related risks.

America’s Milk Processors are dedicated to educating Americans about the health benefits of milk, including research supporting calcium’s role in achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.

The New Balance Foundation’s mission is to support effective charitable organizations that perform humanitarian services for the betterment of our children and our society through programs that emphasize local outreach, involvement of community, and children's initiatives.

1 SOURCE: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health (http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health/nutrit/pubs/statobes.htm)

2 SOURCE: Centers for Disease Control National Center for Health Statistics (http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/pubs/pubd/hestats/overwght99.htm; http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/releases/02news/obesityonrise.htm; Nancy Wartik, “Rising Obesity in Children Prompts Call to Action,” New York Times, Aug. 26, 2003