Obesity Care In Canada Is Alive And Kicking

sharma-obesity-con-logo5If there is one thing that should be evident to anyone who attended the 4th Canadian Obesity Summit in Toronto last week, it is this: obesity care in Canada is alive and kicking.

Not to say that it is anywhere even remotely close to what is needed to serve the now well over 6 million kids and adults living with obesity – but there is hope.

Judging by the many session, both of plenary talks, original abstracts, and patient care workshops, this capacity is very rapidly evolving across the country.

For example the numbers of adult and adolescent bariatric surgeries performed in Ontario have increased from a few hundred (in the public sytem) just a few years ago to well over 2000 annually.

In Alberta, there are now 5 adult bariatric specialty clinics across the province, a significant increase from just a few years ago.

Indeed, bariatric specialty services are now available in virtually every Canadian province.

But here is the caveat: waiting times at most of these centres is measured in years!

As for non-surgical treatments – access remains severely limited across Canada.

But the Summit not only documents the increase in bariatric care (judging by the interest from the many clinicians attending the conference). It is also evident that there is now growing capacity for basic and clinical research in obesity medicine – everything from addressing weight bias in health care settings to preclinical studies on the microbiota or neuroendocrine changes in surgery patientsappears to be on the research agenda – the breadth and depth of topics is staggering.

Not least, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s Institute for Nutrition, Diabetes and Metabolism grasped the occasion to announce another $4.5 million in funding for bariatric research in kids and adults (in partnership with the Canadian Obesity Network’s FOCUS fund).

Much to look forward to and certainly a positive and hopeful development for Canadians living with obesity.

Berlin, Germany