Establishing Common Ground in Obesity Prevention and Management

Obesity is complex. Few health professionals are specifically trained in obesity management – few health systems have invested in managing it.

As regular readers will recall, Alberta Health Services recently launched a province-wide obesity initiative ranging from population health and community projects, across primary care, to establishing speciality centres for complex medical and surgical management of kids and adults with severe obesity.

Currently, around 100 health professionals and administrators from across the province, working on getting this initiative off the ground are meeting in Edmonton to discuss details of the plan. Many have already worked in obesity and chronic disease management and bring their own views and experience to the table. This is immensely important as sharing of best practices is one of the key mechanisms to ensure that we do more of what works and less of what doesn’t.

It is also essential that we establish common ground on the basic principles and practice of addressing this health problem – the sooner we are all on the same page, the sooner we can begin working towards consistency in obesity prevention and care across the province.

This will not happen overnight – there will be learnings, there will be things that work well and things that don’t.

But I am fully confident that in the end we will be moving in the right direction towards reducing the emotional, physical, and economic burden of obesity on all Albertans.

We may not be able to cure obesity, but we can certainly do a much better job at preventing and treating it.

Edmonton, Alberta