The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, US will host a forum next month to examine the role that soy foods can play in managing a person's weight.
With the rise of obesity to near epidemic proportions, the conference, according to its organisers, is aimed at bringing together food industry representatives, health-care professionals, dietitians and university scientists to review the latest research.
The event is sponsored by the Illinois Center for Soy Foods, the National Soybean Research Laboratory, and the department of food science and human nutrition at Illinois.
Topics of discussions will include the challenge facing the US, human studies on soy and weight loss, industry perspectives and the economic, cultural and sociological impacts of obesity.
The conference will be animated by leading health researchers, such as Penny Kris-Etherton from Penn State University and G. Harvey Anderson from the university of Toronto, who will look at the broader implications of diet and obesity.
Other speakers, including Paul S Cooke and Ellen Evans from the University of Illonois, will discuss more specific soy-related research.
Those wanting to find out more about the conference to be held 25-26 May should go to the obesity and soy website .
Almost one third of people living in the European Union are overweight and more than one in ten is now obese, according to European Association for the Study of Obesity.
The numbers of children who are overweight is set to rise from 20 per cent to 25 per cent by 2008, say analysts Datamonitor.
And the costs are high. The DiOGenes project - funded under the EU's food quality and safety drive within the EU sixth framework programme estimates that obesity consumes about 5 per cent of total health care budgets in the EU.