Workshop: Obesity in Preconception and Pregnancy & Its Downstream Effects on Childhood Obesity - Toronto

Obesity in Preconception and Pregnancy &  Its Downstream Effects on Childhood Obesity

Overview | Registration | Agenda | Speakers

Learn about the prevalence of, risk factors for, and implications of obesity in the preconception and perinatal periods.

This workshop will share effective practices and practical strategies to minimize the factors that contribute to obesity during childhood and to improve childhood health outcomes.

The Canadian Obesity Network's 5As for Healthy Pregnancy Weight Gain session by Dr. Zach Ferraro:  This program has been accredited by the College of Family Physicians of Canada and the Ontario Chapter for up to 1 Mainpro-M1 credits.

Learning objectives:

  • Participants will gain knowledge of current research, guidelines and key messages related to obesity in the perinatal period and its downstream effect on childhood obesity.
  • Participants will have increased capacity to support pregnant women to experience a healthy weight by understanding the importance of identifying the root causes of weight gain with a weight sensitive approach.
  • Participants will have an increased awareness of community supports and resources for themselves and their clients to address healthy pregnancy weight gain.

This workshop is based on Obesity in Preconception and Pregnancy resource developed by Best Start Resource Centre.


Registration will start at 8:30 am and the workshop is from 9:00 am to 4:15 pm.

Regular registration fee is $75.

Click here to register


Please mail the Cheque/ Money order to us:

Make cheques payable to Health Nexus and send to:

Best Start: Ontario’s Maternal, Newborn and Early Child Development Resource Centre
c/o Health Nexus
180 Dundas St. West, Suite 301
Toronto ON M5G 1Z8
Tel: 416.408.2249
Toll Free: 1.800.397.9567
Fax: 416.408.2122

Note: Registration fee includes a copy of the resource Obesity in Preconception and Pregnancy, handouts, lunch and healthy snacks. We will refund your registration fee ONLY if you cancel your registration two weeks before the training session for which you have registered.  Cancellation should be notified in writing ONLY.  An Administrative Fee of $10 will be retained on the registration fee when processing the refund.


A block of rooms have been reserved for January 12, 2015 - January 13, 2015 at the Hilton Garden Inn Toronto Downtown.   The special room rate will be available until December 18th or until the group block is sold-out, whichever comes first. 
The web page address is:


For inquiries about registration contact:
Roshni or 1-800-397-9567 ext. 2336; or 416-408-2249

For inquiries about workshop content contact:
Marie Brisson: or 1-800-397-9567 ext. 2255 







Welcome and Opening


How obesity and guideline discordant pregnancy weight gain impact maternal, fetal, and downstream child health

Dr. Zach Ferraro

  • Understand the impact of obesity on maternal-fetal health.
  • Recognize that excessive pregnancy weight gain is an independent and modifiable risk factor for adverse outcomes.
  • Provide an overview of the ‘Barker Hypothesis’ with respect to the development origins of child and adult obesity.
  • Summarize how to best implement evidence-based GWG recommendations.
  • Understand that weight gain is not a behaviour; it’s an outcome.
  • Discuss how SMART goals can help patients meet guidelines by establishing healthful behaviors.
  • Highlight a novel research and tools that may help care providers and patients with pregnancy weight management.




Harmonizing ‘the message’: An overview of the CON 5 As for Pregnancy

Dr. Zach Ferraro

This presentation will highlight the end product of a 2 year working group of nurses, midwives, primary care physicians, obstetricians, researchers, and policy makers. The modified 5As framework is intended to help primary care practitioners and allied care providers discuss and manage pregnancy weight gain in their patients. Key principles will be discussed. An overview of the 5 As will provide the audience with initial exposure to a novel weight management tool with the goal of harmonizing messaging in prenatal care across Canada. 

NOTE:This program has been accredited by the College of Family Physicians of Canada and the Ontario Chapter for up to 1 Mainpro-M1 credits.





Pregnancy as an opportunity to improve long term health

Dr. Graeme Smith




Preventing Weight Bias and Stigma: Adopting a Weight-Neutral Approach

Kasia Tupta

Health care professionals self-report bias and prejudice towards overweight and obese patients. Research demonstrates that obese patients frequently feel stigmatized in health care settings. This presentation will define weight bias, review prevalence and sources of weight bias in primary care and raise awareness of health outcomes of weight bias. We will review strategies to prevent weight bias in primary care and ways to provide a bias-free treatment. This presentation will include a case study to illustrate a weight-neutral approach to health care.


 Promoting Healthy Weights in Children

Marie Brisson

Brief overview of 4 exciting new BSRC projects.  Learn about an upcoming module on obesity in children ; consistent prenatal key messages for all service providers in Ontario; Baby-Friendly Initiative Strategy for Ontario and small grants for community projects to reach and support populations with lower rates of breastfeeding.




Dr. Zach Ferraro is a recognized leader in prenatal health and wellness. He holds a CIHR Postdoctoral Fellowship from the Institute of Human Development, Child and Youth Health, is a clinical research associate in the Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine at the Ottawa Hospital, and PT professor of Human Kinetics at uOttawa. In 2006, he received a Bachelor of Kinesiology from McMaster University and specialized in physiology and metabolism and in 2007 obtained his MSc in Human Health & Nutritional Science at the University of Guelph where he studied glycemic control in obese men. He completed his PhD at the University of Ottawa and CHEO with the Health Active Living and Obesity (HALO) Research Group. His dissertation was titled “maternal predictors and potential modifiers of fetal growth during pregnancy”. Zach has published on topics ranging from clinical epidemiology to molecular medicine. Part of his doctoral work looked at the regulation of the insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-I) axis in obesity and how this may alter nutrient transfer to the developing child. He is a certified exercise physiologist (CSEP-CEP) and outgoing Chair of the Canadian Obesity Network’s Student and New Professional initiative. Dr. Ferraro has published over 30 peer-reviewed articles, given nearly 100 public presentations, and was the University of Ottawa’s Deans Scholar. His dissertation was nominated for the University of Ottawa Governor General’s Gold Medal and he was the inaugural recipient of the Canadian Obesity Network’s Rising Star award.

Dr. Graeme Smith completed a combined MD/PhD at the University of Western ON in 1992 under the supervision of Dr. John Patrick.  He subsequently obtained his FRCSC in Obstetrics & Gynecology at Queen’s University and completed subspecialty training in Maternal-Fetal Medicine at the University of Toronto.  Dr. Smith joined the Division of MFM, Obstetrics & Gynecology at Queen’s University in 1999.  Dr. Smith divides his time between High Risk Obstetrics and Clinical/Basic science research.  He is currently the Professor and Head of the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology at Queen’s University.

Dr. Smith is a Maternal-Fetal Medicine (MFM) clinician scientist at Kingston General Hospital/Queens University who established the Queen’s Perinatal Research Unit (Basic Science and Clinical research laboratories).  Dr. Smith is a recipient of a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) New Investigators award and a Premier’s Research Excellence Award.  He has received the highest research recognition at Queen’s University in receiving the Basmajian Research Award and the Chancellor’s Research Award. He was the Principle Investigator for the CIHR funded Canadian Preterm Labour Nitroglycerin Trial and the CIHR/HSF funded Pre-eclampsia (PE) New Emerging Team (PE-NET) project which helped to establish that the developments of complications in pregnancy, specifically PE, are novel pregnancy-related CVR indicators.  He has over 100 peer-reviewed publications and has been/is involved with over 50 peer-reviewed grant funded studies; from basic science to multi-centre randomized placebo controlled trails.  He has supervised over twelve graduate students (MSc and PhD) and dozens of clinical research trainees (medical students and residents). 

Dr. Smith’s research focuses on PE as a marker of cardiovascular disease and potential therapeutics for the treatment of PE.  His primary research interests pertain to adverse pregnancy outcomes as a marker of future maternal health. He developed The MotHERS Program (Mothers Health Education, Research and Screening) ( to improve maternal health and outcomes.

Dr. Smith is married (Dr. Susan Chamberlain, also in Obstetrics & Gynecology) and has a 12 year old son and a 10 year old daughter.  He has many interests outside of Academic Obstetrics and has previously completed the Ironman Triathlon.

Kasia Tupta is a Registered Dietitian with Stonegate Community Health Centre in Toronto where she practices a non-weight focused approach to disease prevention, health promotion and management of chronic health conditions. Following her undergraduate degree in Nutrition and Food, she completed a Master of Health Science degree in Nutrition Communication from Ryerson University.  Kasia has presented at numerous national and international conferences and is a frequent guest speaker at community events and lectures.  Her main focus in nutrition therapy is prevention of disordered eating and promotion of a healthy relationship with food.

Marie Brisson is a Bilingual Health Promotion Consultant of the Best Start Resource Centre since April 2010.  She graduated from the University of Ottawa in nursing; she then completed a second cycle diploma in Andragogy and a diploma in Health and Safety in the workplace. She worked in Public Health in numerous health programs and worked a few years in the private sector, which makes her field of expertise very wide.