The 120th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association

The annual meeting of the American Psychological Association was held from Aug. 2 to 5 in Orlando, Fla., and attracted more than 10,000 participants from around the world, including psychological scientists, practitioners, and educators. The conference featured the latest advances in psychological knowledge, with presentations focusing on immigration, racism, bullying, eating disorders, clinical practice, social networking, and psychotherapy.

During one presentation, Rena Wing, Ph.D., of Brown University and the Miriam Hospital in Providence, R.I., discussed previous findings that highlighted how modest weight loss can have a positive impact on overall health.

"By losing 7 percent of their body weight, individuals at risk for diabetes can reduce their chances of developing diabetes by 58 percent," Wing said. "The interesting thing was that, even if the weight was later regained, there was a long-term positive impact of the weight loss. It is unclear whether this long-term impact reflects long-term changes in behaviors (physical activity and dietary intake) or whether there is some type of 'metabolic memory.'"

Wing recommends that physicians encourage their patients to focus on losing such modest amounts of weight in an effort to improve overall health.

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During another presentation, Dan Olweus, Ph.D., of the University of Bergen in Norway, discussed findings from various studies demonstrating that traditional in-person bullying was more common than cyberbullying.

"Claims by the media and researchers that cyberbullying has increased dramatically and is now the big school bullying problem are largely exaggerated," Olweus said in a statement. "There is very little scientific support to show that cyberbullying has increased over the past five to six years, and this form of bullying is actually a less frequent phenomenon."

Olweus also discussed the balance between administrators and educators targeting traditional in-person bullying and cyberbullying.

"Given that traditional bullying is much more prevalent than cyberbullying, it is natural to recommend schools direct most of their efforts to counteracting traditional bullying. I don't want to trivialize or downplay cyberbullying but I definitely think it is necessary and beneficial to place cyberbullying in proper context and to have a more realistic picture of its prevalence and nature," Olweus said in a statement.

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Anthony G. Greenwald, Ph.D., of the University of Washington in Seattle, discussed how race attitudes may play a role in the election of a presidential candidate.

"Race attitudes were more strongly predictive of preference for the Republican candidate than was true in the parallel study we did just before the 2008 election," Greenwald said. "The key conclusion from statistical analyses is that our data indicate that Obama has about a 7 to 8 percent handicap resulting from Americans' racial preferences for white relative to black. This estimate of size of the handicap is greater than recently suggested by others."

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APA: Fitness Predicts Academic Achievement in Middle School

FRIDAY, Aug. 3 (HealthDay News) -- For boys and girls in middle school, cardiorespiratory fitness is the strongest predictor of academic achievement, particularly of performance in reading and math, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association, held from Aug. 2 to 5 in Orlando, Fla.

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Physician's Briefing

Updated on August 08, 2012

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