ICO Awards

World Obesity Federation recognises achievement in many ways, one of which is through the awards that are presented at each International Congress on Obesity. Winners are invited to present at ICO as well as receiving a memento of their achievement.

ICO 2022 will have 4 awards from the World Obesity Federation: The Willendorf Award, The Wertheimer Award, William Philip T James Award, Emerging leaders in Health Award. Awards will be presented during the congress and winners will be given free registration to ICO, flights and accommodation covered and a 30-minute presentation slot.

The Willendorf Award

Introduced in 1980, The Willendorf Award recognises outstanding clinically oriented research related to obesity. Candidates for this award must demonstrate substantial contributions to clinically oriented research related to obesity.

Prof. Joseph Proietto

ICO 2022 The Willendorf Award Winner

Professor Emeritus, University of Melbourne, Australia

Joseph Proietto is Professor Emeritus at the University of Melbourne in the Department of Medicine Austin Health and an Endocrinologist specialising in Diabetes and Obesity. He established the first obesity clinic in Victoria at the Royal Melbourne Hospital and is now Head of the Weight control clinic at Austin Health. Professor Proietto was the inaugural Sir Edward Dunlop Medical Research Foundation, Professor of Medicine, and Head of the Metabolic Disorders Research Group in the Department of Medicine, Austin Health.

Research expertise includes Obesity, Body weight regulation, Type 2 Diabetes, Insulin resistance, Transgenic and Knockout mouse models. Professor Proietto has published over 200 articles and several book chapters on obesity and diabetes. He is the Author of “Body Weight Regulation: Essential Knowledge to lose weight and keep it off”.

The Wertheimer Award

The Wertheimer Award was introduced in 1986 at the International Congress on Obesity in Jerusalem. This is awarded for outstanding basic research contributions to the field of obesity. Candidates for this award must demonstrate substantial contributions to basic research related to obesity.

Prof. John Blundell

ICO 2022 The Wertheimer Award Winner

Chair, PsychoBiology, Faculty of Medicine and Health, University of Leeds, Leeds, United Kingdom

Professor John Blundell has a BSc in Psychology and a PhD in Neuroscience from the University of London (Institute of Neurology). He holds the Chair of PsychoBiology in the Faculty of Medicine and Health at the University of Leeds.

His initial research concerned the relationship among brain mechanisms, foods and appetite control, and led to the development of the Satiety Cascade. Currently the research is focussed upon the study of human appetite within an energy balance framework and has demonstrated that Energy Expenditure is a strong determinant of the Drive to Eat. Other research has included genetic studies on anorexia nervosa, the impact of physical activity on appetite, and mechanisms of action of anti-obesity drugs. The Leeds research team has developed several instruments for the evaluation of human appetite in the laboratory and the real world.

He was a member of the UK government DSI Foresight Expert Group that developed the concept of the Obesities Systems Map as the basis for the Change for Life Programme; he was also a member of the DoH Expert Group on Social Marketing approach to childhood obesity. He has been an expert consultant for ILSI and EFSA, and has served on a number of Scientific Obesity Advisory Boards.

Professor Blundell has received numerous prizes including the Johananoff International Fellowship, Sir David Cuthbertson Prize, Gino Bergami Prize, International Prize in Modern Nutrition, and the British Nutrition Foundation Prize. He has been visiting professor at the University of Ghent and Distinguished International Visiting Scholar at the University of Rhode Island. JB has been a long standing scientific governor of the BNF, was a founding member of the European Association for the Study of Obesity In  2019 he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from UK ASO, and in 2021 was made an Honorary Fellow of the Nutrition Society.


William Philip T James Award

In 2020 a new award in the portfolio was created to acknowledge outstanding achievement in the fields of obesity surveillance, prevention, and management. In recognition of his expertise and service, it was named after William Philip T James and his work with the World Obesity Federation.

Prof. Shiriki K. Kumanyika

ICO 2022 William Philip T James Award Winner

Professor Emerita, Epidemiology, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine; Research Professor, Department of Community Health & Prevention, Drexel University Dornsife School of Public, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Prof. Shiriki K. Kumanyika, Ph.D., M.S., M.P.H. is Professor Emerita of Epidemiology at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine and a Research Professor in the Department of Community Health & Prevention at the Drexel University Dornsife School of Public, both located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

She holds a Ph.D. in Human Nutrition from Cornell University, M.S. in Social Work from Columbia University, and Master of Public Health from the Johns Hopkins University. Professor Kumanyika’s research and policy related activities focus on identifying and promoting solutions to obesity and diet-related chronic diseases, often with a focus on health inequities affecting Black people in the USA and include efforts to counter the racialised marketing of unhealthy foods and beverages to Black communities.

She is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine (USA), a former president of the American Public Health Association, nutrition policy advisor to the World Health Organisation and World Cancer Research Fund, and member of the Lancet Commission on Obesity. Professor Kumanyika had key roles in the public health and prevention initiatives of the World Obesity Federation and its predecessor, the International Obesity Task Force, for more than two decades.

She is an author of more than three hundred publications including peer-reviewed original research papers, reviews, commentaries, and book chapters, and has co-edited two books on obesity prevention.

Prof. Boyd Swinburn

ICO 2022 William Philip T James Award Winner

Professor, Population Nutrition and Global Health, University of Auckland, New Zealand; Honorary Professor, Global Centre (GLOBE), Deakin University, Australia

Boyd Swinburn is Professor of Population Nutrition and Global Health at the University of Auckland, New Zealand and Honorary Professor, Global Centre (GLOBE), Deakin University, Australia.

Boyd trained as an endocrinologist and has conducted research in metabolic, clinical and public health aspects of obesity. His major research interests centre on community and policy actions to prevent childhood and adolescent obesity, and reduce, what he has coined, ‘obesogenic’ environments. He leads the INFORMAS initiative (www.informas.org) to monitor and benchmark food environments in over 60 countries.

He established WHO’s first Collaborating Centre on Obesity Prevention at Deakin University in 2003, led two Lancet Series on Obesity in 2011 and 2015, was co-chair of World Obesity Policy & Prevention section 2009-2019 and co-chair of the Lancet Commission on Obesity 2015-2019. He has been an advisor on many government committees, WHO Consultations, and large scientific studies internationally.

Emerging leaders in Health Award

A new award for youth leaders is being introduced at ICO 2022. This award is for outstanding advocacy efforts in the field of obesity. In 2022, a new award will be added for youth proposed solutions to address overweight & obesity.

Ms. Lesly Véjar

ICO 2022 Emerging leaders in Health Award Winner

Researcher, Nutrition and Health Research Centre of the National Institute of Public Health, Mexico

Ms. Lesly Véjar is a researcher and advocate at the Nutrition and Health Research Centre of the National Institute of Public Health in Mexico, where she focuses on weight bias and stigma and policy incidence. She is a nutritionist with a Master’s in Global Health and Development from the University College London (UCL). Lesly is member of the Weight Bias and Stigma Working Group and the Health and Climate Youth Working Group.

Previously, Lesly worked at the World Obesity Federation, in topics related to health policy, specifically front-of-pack food labelling and city-level interventions. She also worked at the Mexico City’s Secretariat of Health promoting initiatives, programmes and policies to prevent and control obesity. Lesly is passionate about the transformation of environments to promote health, prosperity, gender equality and sustainability.

Nominations and applications are now closed for 2022. Please see winners above.
For further enquiries about the World Obesity awards or the nomination process please contact World Obesity at ico@worldobesity.org.