Lauren Nassef

1. Counter Weights
Today 93 million Americans struggle with obesity, which the Center for Disease Control qualifies as a “common, serious, and costly” trend. Limited access to treatment, poor prevention awareness, and weight bias are only some of the hurdles that face affected individuals. Evidence-based reformers like the Obesity Action Coalition hope to reverse these trends, notably, through design, at its third annual Your Weight Matters National Convention in Orlando (Sept. 25–28).
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2. Outdoorsy
This isn’t the first time we’ve rapidly urbanized. Industrialization and immigration 150 years ago grew cities, sanitation efforts, and mass transit systems. It was also the birth of the American parks and rec movement. In the spirit of that legacy, the National Recreation and Park Association’s 2014 Congress (Oct. 14–16) focuses on wellness and social equity.
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3. Great Lakes Green
AIA Michigan’s Green Health Summit centers on how design can encourage better individual health and elevate the quality of public health. Speakers include UCLA’s Dr. Richard Jackson; Municipal Art Society of New York’s Margaret Newman, FAIA; and AIA Design and Health’s Bill Roschen, FAIA. “Making the Healthy Choice the Easy Choice” will be held in Lansing on Sept. 8.

4. A Week of Outreach
Obesity Week (Nov. 2–7, Boston) is a chance for the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery and the Obesity Society to meet. It’s also a chance to raise awareness about a disease that affects more than 20 percent of the U.S. population. Partner symposia, video sessions, and over 100 learning-track events will bring together evidence-based design, cutting-edge research, and public advocacy.
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5. Improvement and Equity
Science contributes to wellness, but public wellness isn’t just science. It’s about hard-fought social, economic, and design battles undertaken by physicians, legislators, city planners, and architects. To that end, the American Public Health Association’s platform is simple: Improve public health and achieve equity in health status. Its annual meeting and expo (New Orleans, Nov. 15–19) offers more than 5,000 papers, full- and half-day workshops, and a film festival to marry quantitative data and qualitative advocacy.
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