Posted Friday, August 03, 2012
Rena R. Wing, PhD, director of the Weight Control & Diabetes Research Center at The Miriam Hospital, has received the Lifetime Achievement award from the American Psychology Association (APA) for her pioneering work in obesity research.
The APA presented Wing, who is a professor of psychiatry and human behavior at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, with her award at their 120th Annual Convention in Orlando, Fla. on August 2.
Wing’s contribution to the fight against obesity is the development of behavioral approaches to help overweight individuals – including those at risk for obesity-related health problems like diabetes and heart disease – lose weight and improve their health.
As principal investigator of the Diabetes Prevention Program, a major research study conducted at 27 clinical centers across the nation, Wing and her colleagues provide the strongest proof to date of the health benefits of weight loss. They demonstrated that behavioral programs focused on modifying diet and exercise, are more effective at preventing diabetes than drug treatments. This intensive lifestyle intervention program – which Wing developed – is currently available throughout the country at YMCAs and many medical centers.
Wing also co-founded the National Weight Control Registry, the largest prospective study of more than 10,000 people who have lost significant amounts of weight and kept it off for long periods of time. The registry, established in 1994, helps researchers better understand the “secrets” to their success and provides clues to the habits and behaviors of individuals who have successfully maintained a long-term weight loss.
Currently, she is chairman of Look AHEAD (Action in Health and Diabetes), a 14-year NIH clinical trial of weight loss in 5,000 adults with type 2 diabetes. She is also principal investigator on a number of federally funded studies looking at weight loss in various contexts, including the association with sleep, preventing weight gain in young adults and developing innovative Internet-based program to improve adherence to behavioral weight loss interventions.
“Rena Wing is a true pioneer in the field of obesity and diabetes research, and her work has literally changed how diet, exercise and other lifestyle interventions are viewed by the medical community, particularly as they relate to weight control and diabetes,” said Arthur Sampson, executive director of The Miriam Hospital. “We congratulate her on this well-deserved honor and applaud her continued passion and dedication to reducing the incidence and impact of obesity and related diseases in our country.”
Wing has published more than 350 peer-reviewed articles on behavioral treatment of obesity and its application to type 2 diabetes, and has mentored many junior researchers studying behavioral weight control. She has served on the council for National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), the Obesity Clinical Research Panel and as president of the Society of Behavioral Medicine.
After receiving a PhD in social relations from Harvard University, Wing completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Massachusetts Mental Health Center. She then spent 25 years at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic at the University of Pittsburgh, where she was a professor of psychiatry, psychology, and epidemiology and director of their Obesity/Nutrition Research Center.
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