Sunday, April 22, 2012

28th Annual Scan Symposium: Motivation for Education

This weekend I had an awesome opportunity to volunteer at the 28th annual SCAN Symposium in Baltimore, Maryland.  In exchange for volunteering as a student member of SCAN I was granted full admission to the symposium which I definitely took advantage of! I was lucky enough to attend the event with my bosses Rebecca Bitzer and kait Fortunato.

For those of you that do not know, SCAN stands for sports, cardiovascular, and wellness nutrition and is the largest dietetic practice group within the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Attending the symposium for me was like a 13 year old getting to go back stage at a Justin Bieber concert. I  had the amazing opportunity to walk around and interact with some of my greatest role models in sports nutrition including Nancy Clark, Nanna L. Meyer, and many more. As a nutrition student with a strong passion for sports and wellness the event gave me the to opportunity to network, learn about the history of SCAN, dine at an awards luncheon, and attend stimulating presentations on the hottest topics in sports, wellness, and cardiovascular nutrition.  I even learned a thing or two about social media and technology from the well-known media & self-care focused dietitian Rebecca Scritchfield.

Two of my favorite presentations I still haven’t stopped talking about include:

The Inactivity Physiology Revolution: The Story Behind the New Physical Activity Recommendations by Marc Hamilton, PhD

o   Marc Hamilton is a professor at Pennington Biomedical in Baton Rouge, LA where he runs a lab focused on researching the Physiology of Inactivity. I had heard a little about the inactivity revolution since the concept was presented in 2004 but did not pay much attention to the information. Dr. Hamilton's presentation convinced me the topic is worth paying attention to. The evidence of the harmful effects of sitting around on our butts too many hours in the day really hit home. As, a runner I always considered my hour or more of exercise a day a healthy bout of daily activity however, Dr. Hamilton made me realize that sitting around for too long despite my excise may have an unhealthy impact on my life. He presented the hypothesis that inactivity and too little exercise are two very different topics and speculated that part of the obesity epidemic is due to the cellular processes that occur during the 20 or so hours in a day when we are inactive despite how active we are in our  few hours of exercise and movement.

Exercise and Appetite the Double Edged Sword presented by Barry Braun, PhD

o   Barry Braun a professor from the University of Massachusetts gave my favorite presentation of the event discussing the regulatory mechanisms that link energy intake with energy expenditure.  In his presentation he stated there is so much we do not know and may never be able to know about the link between exercise, hormones, and appetite in determining  energy intake.  Dr Braun suggested that we many never be able to devise generalized rules and statements about exercise and appetite to manage weight. However he emphasized that Registered Dietitians and Health Professionals should play a critical role in making specific recommendations based on individual characteristics such as psychology, hormonal changes, and intake history.  I enjoyed this presentation so much because Dr. Braun was honest about how little we can infer on the subject of appetite, he had a great sense of humor in his presentation, and the way his presented the unknown mysteries relating to exercise and its impact on appetite made me really think about how exercise impacts one's eating habits! Additionally, he ended on a positive note including that some exercise is always better than none since being in-activity does not lead to eating fewer calories but does lead to an increased risk for cardiovascular diseases. It’s know wonder he received several awards for outstanding undergraduate teaching.

In addition to stimulating so many of my brain cells with dynamic presentations the SCAN Symposium provided me with great meals and snacks from exhibitors such as Chobani, Power bar, Gatorade, Kellogs, California Almonds, Sharkies, and many more! I even won a admission to a Tough Mudder event from the Sharkies table!

Overall, the SCAN Symposium was an amazing opportunity for me, as a student, to learn, network, and be inspired from leaders in the sports and nutrition field. 

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