Obesity Week 2016 is being held in New Orleans, the Big Easy, this year, which is somehow appropriate. Despite there being myriad contributing factors to why we are getting fatter, it is in part because things are easier these days. Jobs are more likely to be sedentary, our children are less likely to participate in active chores and games, highly calorific food and drink is relatively inexpensive and available 24 hours a day. However, one thing that is not getting easier is access to efficacious, safe, and affordable prescription drugs to aid weight loss and weight loss maintenance. We know that patients need to make lifestyle modification and hopefully meaningful behavioral changes to help control weight. Moreover, we know that metabolic and bariatric surgery offers the best results and better outcomes are being demonstrated regularly, from the remission of diabetes through to improvement in lipid abnormalities. But we need something in between to make things, well, easier, for those who are not eligible for surgery but who need more help to lose weight.
So, when The Obesity Society and American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery get together for their annual meeting we hope that this forum will provide new hope for those who could benefit from pharmaceutical treatments. With more than 1,000 abstracts being presented, I am seeking answers as to why obesity is not diagnosed and treated as routinely as other chronic disorders, what novel treatments are on the horizon, and why is it so hard to keep weight off once it is lost? One session I am particularly looking forward to is the Innovative Emerging Pharmacotherapy and Devices Forum, which is being chaired by Dr Ken Fuijioka, M.D., and may shed some light on what is coming through to fill the void between the treadmill and the scalpel. Also of note from the pharmacotherapy perspective are the eight abstracts from Novo Nordisk, one of the leaders in the field. As well as new analyses from the SCALE program for their prescription weight loss agent Saxenda (liraglutide 3mg injection), data from the nation-wide U.S. ACTION study could shed some light on the barriers to managing obesity effectively. In a similar vein, Ruchi Doshi, MPH, from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, is presenting the results of a survey of healthcare professionals asking about their beliefs on the influence of insurance coverage in management of obesity.
There are many and varied opinions on obesity held by the public and practitioners but if there are novel means to make losing weight easier I hope they make it big.