The idea of creating a local organization to focus on the study of overweight and obesity in the Philippines was first conceived by Dr. Augusto D. Litonjua, following his participation in the European Congress on Obesity held in Ulm, Germany in 1993.
The incorporators were: Dr. Augusto D. Litonjua, Dr. Florante P. Gonzaga, Dr. Mary Anne Lim-Abrahan, Dr. Rosa Allyn G. Sy, Dr. Lyra Ruth C. Teodoro, Dr. Joseph A. Regalado, Dr. Edgardo L. Tolentino, Dr. Rodolfo F. Florentino, and Ms. Sanirose S. Orbeta, MS, RD, FADA. With a core of nine highly committed individuals from different fields, and the generous support of Les Laboratoires Servier, the Philippine Association for the Study of Overweight and Obesity (PASOO) was organized on March 9, 1994. On September 28, 1994, the association was finally incorporated and registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission as a non-stock, non-profit organization with a mission and vision of creating public awareness of the consequences of obesity and hence, preventing the increase in the prevalence of disease in the country.
Its existence gained international recognition on June 21, 1995 when PASOO became a full member of the International Association for the Study of Overweight and Obesity (IASO). As part of its Mission, PASOO aims to encourage research in the field of prevention and management of overweight and obesity. Furthermore it aims to provide an authoritative voice on the subject as well as a forum for the exchange of scientific information in this field. Towards this end, the association has conducted workshops to formulate study protocols in the different research areas. These protocols and the preliminary results of the workshops were presented during the first annual convention in 1995. The theme of the first convention was “The Pathogenesis and Treatment of Obesity”.
On the occasion of its Second Annual Convention on 12 July 1996, the association presented the result of the various researches it had embarked on. The theme of the second convention was “Obesity: Coping with the Emerging Epidemic”. During the convention, local and foreign speakers discussed the old and new concepts in the management of obesity, and even touched on the controversies in the management of obesity. Also among the highlights of the convention was the presentation of the association’s recommendations for a healthy and safe weight management program. Realizing the need to reach out to the other parts of the country, PASOO inducted the first local chapter in Cebu City on April 24, 1996. Subsequently, local chapters in North Luzon, Mindanao and Laguna were organized.
The third year of PASOO (1997) saw the launching of the Healthy Food Guide Pyramid created by PASOO’s Vice-president Ms. Sanirose S. Orbeta. This pyramid food guide, endorsed by FNRI and PASOO, is an easy way of instructing our patients to eat properly. In the third convention, the discussion was centered on “What’s New in Obesity?”
Only after 4 years of existence, PASOO embarked on an even bigger project in 1998. It launched the “Pyramid Choice” project which was the establishment of obesity-friendly hotels and restaurants. Participating hotels and restaurants offer low fat, low calorie menus evaluated and approved by expert dietitians who are members of PASOO. In the fourth convention, the speakers discussed about “Integrated Approach to Obesity Management”.
President Joseph Estrada declared the first week of September of every year as Obesity Awareness & Prevention Week on the fifth fruitful year of PASOO (1999). The realization of the First Obesity Awareness and Prevention Week Celebration was made possible through the hard work and support of many people especially Ms. Celeste Tanchoco, RD, and her staff. This noble project aimed to create awareness for the prevention of obesity. The experts gathered in the fifth convention to talk about “Sharing Care for the Obese and the Overweight”.
At the start of the new millennium, we celebrated the second Obesity Awareness and Prevention Week. The week-long celebration was formally opened by a Fitness Walk on September 3, 2000 which started at 6:00 am at The Fort. This activity was highlighted by the awarding of winners of the first slogan contest with the theme on obesity prevention. This was one of the means of involving the public in disease prevention and disseminating information on the dreadful effects of obesity and its appropriate management. The celebration was culminated by the sixth annual convention which tackled “The Challenges of Obesity in the New Millennium” held at the EDSA Plaza hotel on September 8, 2000 from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. The 1st Physical Activity Pyramid Guide was also launched in the year 2000.
In 2001, PASOO continued the tradition of annual convention as its major activity. The invited experts talked about the “Triad of Environment, Genetics and Behavior” in the PASOO seventh convention. The convention was well-attended by physicians, nutritionists and exercise and fitness specialists.
In the year 2002, PASOO launched the “Whiz Kids Project” chaired by Dr. Rodolfo Florentino. The main objective of the project was to promote a healthy lifestyle to prevent and control overweight and obesity among school children. St. Scholastica’s College signed the Memorandum of Agreement to be the Pilot School of the project during the PASOO eighth annual convention. The lectures during this convention were about the “Controversies in Obesity Management”.
In 2003, the officers and board of directors of PASOO formally crafted its Mission and Vision to encompass its primary goals as well as the present and future projects of the association. It was also during this memorable year that PASOO finally inaugurated its permanent home at Medical Plaza Ortigas Center. The theme of the ninth convention was “Obesity Epidemic: The Philippine Challenge.”
In 2004, the first Postgraduate Course was introduced with the main objective of improving the medical management of weight problem in the Philippines. The tenth convention was held on September 17-18, 2004 with the theme “Terror Alert: Obesity” , preceded by the first Postgraduate Course. Both were well received and well attended by health professionals.
On Sept. 5-6, 2005, the second Postgraduate Course and eleventh Annual Convention focused on the “New Horizons in the Treatment of Obesity”. The convention was preceded by the Annual Fitness Walk which was held in front of the Film Center, CCP Complex, Pasay City.
On September 1-2, 2006, the third Postgraduate Course and twelfth Annual Convention held at the Century Park Hotel, Manila carried the theme “Winning the War Against Obesity”. A Fitness Walk held on August 27, 2006, at the Mall of Asia, Pasay City, Metro Manila, followed by a Muay Thai demonstration by the Muay Thai National Team and a mass culminated the 2006 Obesity Awareness Prevention Week. That year, Dr. Ramon Abarquez and his PGH Team introduced the significance of 6-Minute Challenge walk which aimed to measure one’s fitness level.
The year 2007 opened the doors for more activities that heightened public awareness in our fight against the obesity epidemic. PASOO signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) to join hands in the advocacy of keeping the youth healthy, clean and active. In the summer of 2007, cognizant of the need to start obesity awareness early in life, PASOO held its first KIDS SUMMER WORKSHOP. It was attended by 87 children and their parents who actively participated in the workshop. The PASOO chapters were relaunched that year with the organization of the 1st Obesity workshop hosted by the Cagayan de Oro chapter. The thirteenth annual convention on OBESITY ATTACK tackled the different medical as well as non-medical challenges of obesity. The successful scientific convention was followed by the 1st WELLNESS SUMMIT ‘ BAWAS TIMBANG, DAGDAG BUHAY” held at the SM Megatade Hall A. This mini exposition taught the participants the natural history, causes and different management options of obesity through the different booths set up and handled by endocrinologists certified by the Philippine Society of Endocrinology and Metabolism of the country.
In 2008, Dr. Rosa Allyn G. Sy was the hard-working and resourceful PASOO President motivating the officers and board of directors to hold the second KIDS SUMMER WORKSHOP in San Juan, Rizal and the Second OBESITY WORKSHOP hosted by Laguna chapter during the summer of 2008. Both activities were well attended. The second WELLNESS SUMMIT with the theme, “WASTONG BIGAT, KALUSUGAN ANG KATAPAT” was held at Megatrade Hall, SM Megamall, Mandaluyong on August 23. Dr. Mia C. Fojas was the Chair of the PASOO Wellness Summit. There were booths, exercise sessions, talks including “Dietary Facts and Fallacies” by Mrs. Sanirose Orbeta, Nutritionist and Vice President of PASOO, and also “Weight Loss Treatments” by the doctors. The fourteenth annual convention was held at Crowne Plaza Galleria Manila on August 27, 2008 with the theme of “COOKING UP THE RIGHT MIX AGAINST OVERWEIGHT AND OBESITY”. The topics were carefully selected by the PASOO Scientific Committee headed by Dr. Gabriel V. Jasul, Jr. Professor Ian Caterson was invited to speak about “Optimizing Weight Management: How Do We Really Control Weight?” during the plenary session.
In 2009, PASOO continued its activities on obesity prevention. Dr. Elizabeth P. Pacheco, the president, emphasized the importance of research and organized a research core group. Dr. Sioksoan Chan-Cua, a pediatric endocrinologist, proposed PASOO School-based Health Promotion Program and organized School Health Lecture Series. Two lecture series were held in July, the nutrition month; the first was in St. Andrew’s School, Parañaque, on July 24, 2009 and the second was in St. Scholastica’s College, Manila on July 31, 2009. The third lecture series was in St. Matthew College, San Mateo, Rizal, on September 4, during Obesity Awareness & Prevention Week, the first week of September. We shared the PASOO “Mission and Vision”, then talked about the “Importance of Healthy Weight and Prevention of Obesity-related Complications”, “Knowing Your WHW and Be Healthy” (WHW – weight, height and waist), and Nutrition lecture – games on “Proper Food Choice”. The speakers were PASOO officers and directors, including Dr. Elizabeth P. Pacheco, Dr. Rosa Allyn G. Sy, Dr. Gabriel V. Jasul, Jr., Dr. Sioksoan Chan-Cua, Mrs. Sanirose S. Orbeta and Mrs. Celeste C. Tanchoco. The fifteenth Annual Convention was held on September 5 at Crowne Plaza Galleria Manila with a theme “From Theory To Public Policy: Addressing Challenges And Trends In Obesity Now”. “ACTION” has been stressed by Dr. Gabriel V. Jasul, Jr., the chairperson of Scientific Committee. Dr. Rodolfo Florentino formulated the PASOO Declaration II and it was passed and approved by the members during the convention. The Third Wellness Summit, with the theme, “Wastong Bigat, Kalusugan ang Katapat”, was held on September 12 at Megatrade Hall 2, SM Megamall with Dr. Mia C. Fojas as the chairperson of the Summit.
In 2010, PASOO held the Third Obesity Workshop with Cebu Chapter in Marco Polo Hotel, Cebu City, on April 24. We continued the School-based Health Promotion Program and gave Health lectures in St. Andrew’s School, Parañaque, for the second time, on the 28th day of July, the nutrition month. During the previous year, the audience were grade school students while during this year, the participants were high school students. Dr. Augusto A. Litonjua, Dr. Rosa Allyn Sy, Elizabeth P. Pacheco and Dr. Sioksoan Chan-Cua attended the 11th International Congress on Obesity (ICO) held in Stockholm, Sweden on July 11-15. Dr. Rosa Allyn Sy, representing PASOO, is the treasurer of the Asia-Oceania Association for the Study of Obesity (AOASO) Council and the overall chair of the forthcoming 6th Asia-Oceania Conference on Obesity (AOCO 2011). The 16th PASOO Annual Convention was held on September 4, 2010 at the Crowne Plaza with the theme: “Re-examining Obesity Recommendations: Successful Outcomes and Lifelong Uses of Treatment in Obesity Now – SOLUTION”. The PASOO Lay forum was held on September 5 at the Bayanihan Hall, United Laboratories in Mandaluyong City, with guest of honor, Asia’s Biggest Loser Finalist, Carlo Miguel, who shared his own experiences in losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight.
Obesity lecture series and awareness campaign were continued through 2010 and 2011 under the presidency of Dr. Sioksoan Chan-Cua. Obesity Prevention and Awareness Week 2010 was celebrated with Lecture and Lay Forum at the Mandaluyong City Hall on September 5, 2010. On March 11, 2011, PASOO’s obesity initiatives were the focus of the PCP Health Forum at Anabel’s Restaurant, Quezon City. Preparation for the 6th Asia-Oceania Congress on Obesity was the major focus of the PASOO and regular organizational meetings were held to ensure the success of this event in Manila. In the meantime, PASOO Obesity Lecture Series, in coordination with Manila Doctors Hospital, was held at the Epifanio de los Santos Elementary School on August 5, 2011 for parents, on August 22, 2011 for students and on August 28, 2011 for teachers.
PASOO’s stature as an obesity organization was enhanced by its successful hosting of the 6th Asia-Oceania Congress on Obesity on August 31 to September 2, 2011 at Sofitel Philippine Plaza. 992 health professionals participated in this congress hosted by the PASOO in cooperation with the International Association for the Study of Obesity (IASO), the Asia-Oceania Association for the Study of Obesity (AOASO) and the Philippine Society of Endocrinology and Metabolism (PSEM). PASOO Past President, Dr. Rosa Allyn G. Sy, was the indefatigable AOCO Congress Chair and she was ably supported by Congress Co-Chair and Scientific Committee Chair, PASOO Past President, Dr. Elizabeth Paz-Pacheco , Congress Secretary and incumbent PASOO President, Dr. Sioksoan Chan-Cua, Congress Treasurer and then PSEM President, Dr. Gabriel V. Jasul,Jr. and the hardworking and dedicated chairs and members of the different Congress Committees with the generous assistance from pharmaceutical partners.
With the theme, “The Growing Problem of Obesity and the Metabolic Syndrome: the Asia-Oceania Perspective”, highlights of this important regional Congress included keynote address by the WHO Representative in the Philippines, Dr Soe Nyunt-u and seven state of the art plenary lectures delivered by PASOO Founding President, Prof. Augusto D. Litonjua (Philippines), Prof. Yuji Matsuzawa (Japan), Prof. Frances Lina Lantion-Ang (Philippines), Dr. Anthony Paul Furnary (USA), Prof. Nicholas Finer (UK), Prof. Elizabeth Paz-Pacheco (Philippines), IASO President, Prof. Philip T. James (UK) and Prof. Ian D. Caterson (UK). Eight exciting symposia with international and regional obesity experts and seven industry supported satellite symposia completed the excellent scientific program. The Research Committee showcased 55 research presentation in both oral and poster presentations. The social program rounded out the full three-day schedule with the Fat and Fabulous dinner symposium on Congress Day 1, the Power to Move, Go! Fitness activity, early in the morning of Congress Day 2 and the Fellowship Night, also on Day 2. During the closing session, representatives of the Asia-Oceania obesity organizations signed the resolution entitled, “A Call to Action Against Overweight and Obesity: Asia-Oceania Perspective” as a fitting finale to this remarkable congress. Indeed, PASOO and its partners earned well-deserved congratulations and commendation.
The Impressive outcome of the 6th AOCO further inspired the PASOO leadership to pursue its many programs. Right after the Congress, on October 12, 2011, the PASOO Research Committee, headed by Past President Elizabeth Paz-Pacheco, spearheaded the PASOO Research Validation Workshop at Club Filipino, Greenhills, San Juan, concretizing the Philippine Obesity Reserach Agenda. On November 12, 2011, the 4th PASOO Obesity Workshop, in cooperation with the PASOO Bulacan Chapter and coordinated by PASOO Director, Dr. Roberto Mirasol, was held at Paradise Resort, Malolos, Bulacan.
2012 is again proving to be another busy year for the PASOO leaders and members. Current President, Dr. Sioksoan Chan-Cua, led PASOO’s participation at the PCP Health Forum (March 20, 2012) together with the PSEM. On April 25 and 26, 2012, the PASOO leadership and stakeholders reviewed the strategic plans of the organization. With the help of workshop facilitator, Mr. Armando C. Esguerra, PASOO was able to craft the ten-year plan of the PASOO aptly summarized as E.R.A.S.E. OBESITY! (Education, Research, Advocacy, Service and Expansion). This provides a concrete framework for PASOO’s many programs and projects.
On May 9-12, 2012, PASOO Past Presidents, Dr. Rosa Allyn G. Sy and Dr. Elizabeth Paz-Pacheco, PASOO Secretary and Scientific Committee Chair, Dr. Gabriel V. Jasul, Jr., had the opportunity to attend the 19th European Congress on Obesity in Lyon, France and were to represent PASOO in two important meetings during this Congress, the IASO Council Meeting and the AOASO Council Meeting. The remarkable outcome of the 6th AOCO Congress in Manila was again noted in both meetings by the IASO President, Prof. Philip T. James and the AOASO leaders who both congratulated Dr. Rosa Allyn G. Sy and the PASOO for setting the benchmark for future AOCO meetings.
PASOO lecture series continued with the Dr. Sioksoan Chan-Cua’s session with public school nurses on May 29, 2012 at the Francisco Balagtas Elementary School. PASOO is likewise actively pursuing its alliances and entered an agreement with Coke Philippines to be the lead organization of the Exercise is Medicine program in the Philippines during the organizational meeting with health organizations last July 11, 2012 at Oakwood Center, Ortigas, Pasig City. PASOO also participated in the formulation and completion of the Philippine Diabetes Nutrition Algorithm with the PSEM as the lead organization. On July 26, 2012, the PASOO leaders met with Department of Health Secretary, Dr. Enrique T. Ona, at the DOH Office, Sta. Cruz, Manila to strengthen PASOO’s public health strategies.
This year’s annual convention, to be held on August 31, 2012 at Crowne Plaza Galleria Manila, will again attempt to direct PASOO’s programs into actual actions and solutions, with the theme, “AIMING ACTIONS, SHAPING SOLUTIONS”. Leading experts will discuss important issues and concerns regarding artificial sweeteners, obesity research agenda in the Philippines, weight management programs in primary care and public health settings, behaviour modification in the home environment, prevention of complications of childhood obesity and physical activity promotion in school and the workplace. The Filipino panel of speakers will be joined by Professor Maxime Buyckx from Atlanta. Georgia, USA who will present his lecture on translating scientific evidence on physical activity into actions in our changing world. Capping the program is the multidisciplinary panel discussion dubbed as Obesity Conversations: Actions and Reactions, Solutions and Resolutions that will highlight recent updates, recommendations and their applications in the real world setting. The convention summary, a distinct feature of PASOO Annual Meetings, will put together this year’s major inputs that will help direct PASOO’s future action plans.
As a prelude to this year’s Annual Convention, the PASOO Research Committee will convene the Obesity Summit 2012 on August 30, 2012 also at the Crowne Plaza. Key leaders and stakeholders in the field of obesity have been invited to contribute to the important task of setting the national research agenda on obesity with the ultimate objective summed up as E.R.A.S.E. OBESITY! As identified during the last PASOO strategic planning. Interested individuals and groups are most welcome to participate.
Upcoming activities for the rest of 2012 include celebration of Obesity Awareness and Prevention Week from September 1-7, PASOO Lay For in corporate/work setting and the 6th Obesity Workshop in coordination with PASOO Baguio Chapter in November and continuing membership drive.
Indeed, the task of preventing and managing overweight and obesity remains daunting today. But with PASOO’s firm resolve to fulfill its mission as pioneer in the prevention and control of obesity and its complications and attain its vision of an obesity-risk free Philippines, the challenges in the fight against obesity will be faced as real opportunities to make a difference. PASOO therefore enjoins everyone to work with us as we AIM ACTIONS AND SHAPE SOLUTIONS AGAINST OBESITY!