Guest post: Congratulations, Dr. Saunders!

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As a follow up, below is a guest post from Travis’ colleague and friend who’s had guest posts on Obesity Panacea in the past, Zach Ferraro.

Here’s Zach:

Congratulations Dr. Saunders!

I wanted to take the opportunity to write a brief guest post on Obesity Panacea to congratulate my good friend and colleague Dr. Travis Saunders on a successful thesis defence. In 2009, I had the pleasure of meeting Travis when he ventured from Queen’s University to work with the HALO Research Group. Since then Travis has been an integral part of the HALO team and great addition both inside and outside the lab.

His thesis was entitled ‘The health impact of sedentary behaviour in children and youth’ and included 4 related studies in pursuit of 2 objectives: 1) To determine the cross-sectional association of sedentary time, interruptions in sedentary time, sedentary bout length, and total movement variability with markers of cardiometabolic disease risk among children and youth, and 2) To examine the impact of 1-day of prolonged sedentary behaviour, with and without interruptions or structured physical activity, on markers of cardiometabolic disease risk, hunger, food intake and spontaneous physical activity levels in children and youth.

Overall Travis’ results suggest that optimal levels of cardiometabolic disease risk are most likely to be seen in children who limit their time engaging in screen-based sedentary behaviours, who frequently interrupt their sedentary time, and who have high levels of variability in their movement behaviours. His findings are unique and some of the first ever reported in children – quite an impressive academic contribution from a PhD dissertation!

There was no doubt in my mind that Travis would’ve performed exceptionally on Friday as he is a Canadian authority on the topic of sedentary behaviour with several notable media features in the Ottawa Citizen, CBC news and the Globe and Mail.

In addition to his academic accomplishments Travis was involved with many extra-curricular activities. He championed the genesis of the Sedentary Behaviour Research Network (affectionately known as SBRN) along with his supervisor and HALO director Dr. Mark Tremblay and was intimately involved with the local Canadian Obesity Network student and new professional chapter (CON-SNP) at the University of Ottawa during his tenure with the HALO group. Here he helped coordinate and execute several knowledge translation events including many guest speaker series bringing notable researchers to the University of Ottawa including a debate about Diet vs. Exercise for the prevention and management of obesity between his former MSc supervisor Dr. Bob Ross and Dr. Yoni Freedhoff. And just last year Travis and I received a CIHR café scientifique grant to host a public debate between Drs. Arya Sharma and Jacqui Gingras on the topic of ‘Is obesity a disease?’. Needless to say Travis made full use of his time in Ottawa.

As Travis prepares to move onto postdoc studies out East I think I speak for all his lab mates when I say HALO will miss not only a great researcher, but a great guy.

Now let’s celebrate.

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