Follow me on

Obesity in 2012

On this day, a year ago, I predicted that the 2nd Canadian National Obesity Summit would be a spectacular success – it was (judging by the feedback from the over 800 attendees).

I ventured to hope that the 1st National Summit on Weight Bias and Discrimination would spark a lot of interest in this topic – it did (judging by over 40 million media impressions).

I suggested that more attention would be payed to the importance of mental health as a driver of the obesity epidemic – someone listened – in 2012, the Canadian Obesity Network together with the International Association for the Study of Obesity will host its 1st Hot Topic Conference on Obesity & Mental Health (Toronto, June 26-28, 2012).

Last year, at the Obesity Network we were also enthusiastic about the possibility of receiving federal funding to launch the Canadian Obesity Awareness and Control initiative for Health (COACH) – we didn’t.

Nevertheless, as far as I can tell, 2012 will continue to be exciting for anyone interested in obesity:

As more and more provinces realise that obesity is not going anywhere and we may as well get serious about treating it, I expect to see other provinces (following in the footsteps of Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec) to begin ramping up efforts to provide obesity treatments to their populations.

On the prevention side, I expect the public health authorities to begin discussing and addressing some of the less obvious causes of obesity (stress, lack of time, lack of sleep, lack of home cooking skills, etc.), rather than simply repeating their standard messages about the anti-obesity benefits of ‘healthy eating – active living’ (the public health equivalent of ‘Eat Less – Move More’).

For the Canadian Obesity Network I see continued growth (soon to hit 7,000 members). Without government funding, sustaining the network will provide interesting opportunities – especially in striking new partnerships and exploring new revenue streams to continue its work – which is certainly as important and relevant as it ever was.

To my readers – I look forward to all of your comments and ideas that reflect an amazing breadth of opinions and insights – it always makes for interesting reading – it is fair to say that I probably learn the most from this exercise.

Berlin, Germany

p.s. Registration for the International School on Obesity Research and Management (ISORAM 2012, Lake Louise March 25-30 is now open – click here to register).


  1. Happy New Year Dr. Sharma! I look forward to reading another year’s worth of thought-provoking articles. I don’t always agree with you, but I’m always eager to hear what you have to say. Maybe there’ll be another meet-up in Toronto again too?!

    On a professional note, please contact me privately if you think the 1st Hot Topic Conference taking place in Toronto in June will be needing simultaneous translation services. As you know, that’s my field of expertise and I’m very interested in the conference topic to boot.

    Post a Reply
  2. I am wondering why Saskatchewan never gets any mention of their efforts regarding obesity surgery. Did you know that there is a program run by the Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region that prepares/follows people before/after bariatric surgery? It runs quite similar to the Alberta programs, and includes a nurse, psychologist, exercise therapist and registered dietitian. Many clients come from Manitoba and Alberta to go through the program, along with the Saskatchewan clients. I am glad that Alberta, Ontario and Quebec are getting the recognition they deserve, but let’s not forget about Sask!

    Post a Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *