Session speaker announcement: Mr John Mercer, Chronic Condition Psychologist on ‘Psycho-Dietetic Intervention for Obesity

We are pleased to announce session speaker Mr John Mercer, Chronic Condition Psychologist, Tasmanian Health Service (North) who will speak at the 3rd Annual Eating Disorders and Obesity Conference; Inspiring behavioural change 16-17 May 2016.

As part of a World Class Conference Program, Mr John Mercer will speak in the Implementation of programs and strategies stream on ‘Food For Thought: An Inter-professional Psycho-dietetic Intervention for Obesity’.

Mr Mercer will introduce the ‘Food for Thought’ program as an innovation in the way we think about and approach the problem of obesity. Co-facilitated by a psychologist and a dietitian, the eight-week program features a psycho-dietetic approach. It explicitly re-conceptualises the aetiology of obesity from a quantitative phenomenon defined by Kgs and BMI, to one more qualitatively defined by individual processes and experience.

Using Health Philosophy and Eating Styles to re-conceptualise weight problems, the program targets Eating Styles as the primary presenting issue. It debunks the dieting myth, provides knowledge and skills for increased insight and improved self-regulation, and de-emphasises weight related goals. It has demonstrated shift in Eating Style, sustained over time, and also statistically significant ‘incidental’ weight loss.

The psychological component of the program integrates behavioural, cognitive, psychodynamic and mindfulness elements to address individual eating styles. The Dietetic component is a non-dieting approach, de-emphasising traditional dieting and control themes in favour of realistic and sustainable changes in food choice and eating behaviour. The program can operate as an alternative to bariatric surgery for contra-indicated candidates, or an adjunct to surgical intervention to support candidates post-surgically toward optimised outcomes. This potentially alters existing health system service delivery pathways, servicing candidates who would not receive surgical intervention, diverting some viable surgical candidates, and potentially reducing surgical reversal waiting lists.

Extensive mixed methods evaluation across a variety of physiological, dietetic, psychological and social domains produced promising qualitative and quantitative outcomes from the program. ‘Food for Thought’ showcases innovation, consumer-centred care, inter-professional practice, organisational collaboration, and how practice-research in public health can inform and support medical service delivery pathways.

John Mercer is a Chronic Condition Psychologist at the Northern Integrated Care Service in Northern Tasmania. He has been assessing and supporting bariatric surgery candidates in the public health system for the past five years. In collaboration with co-researchers from the University of Tasmania, he developed, delivered and evaluated the ‘Food For Thought’ Psycho-dietetic Weight Management Program, which received the Consumer Centred Pathways award at the 2015 TAHPAC Awards.

Mr John Mercer holds a PhD from the University of Melbourne and a Masters in Psychology from Monash University. His PhD research explored the therapeutic use of Zen principles in a Japanese treatment for anxiety-based disorders. He has been a practicing psychologist and Member of the Australian Psychological Society for fourteen years, and currently works in the Public Health system in Tasmania. He works with people with chronic medical conditions who suffer psychologically as a result, and provides training and consultancy to a wide variety of medical specialists, generalists and allied health professionals on the psychological aspects of managing patients with chronic conditions. He has been assessing and working with pre and post bariatric surgery patients for five years, and has developed and evaluated a weight management program in response to evidenced gaps in service delivery for the overweight and obese population.

The 3rd Annual Australian and New Zealand Eating Disorders and Obesity Conference will be held at Mantra on View, Gold Coast from the 16 – 17 May 2016. To register for the conference CLICK HERE.

To view the World Class Conference Program CLICK HERE.

Obesity statistics and overweight statistics currently reveal more than 63% of Australians are obese or overweight. This makes us the most overweight and obese nation in the world.

Obesity statistics and overweight statistics currently reveal that 1 in 4 children are overweight or obese.

The 2016 Conference will have a key focus on how we can inspire behavioural change together and change these statistics for a healthier future.
Tags: 3rd Eating Disorders and Obesity Conference, obesity, obesity statistics, overweight statistics