What I Noticed at Obesity Week 2023

A few weeks ago, I attended Obesity Week, the annual scientific meeting of The Obesity Society, in Dallas. 

As expected, there was a palpable buzz and excitement about the ever-expanding pipelines of nutrient-stimulated hormone (NuSH)-based treatments that bear the promise of dramatically changing the future clinical management of obesity.

Given this promise, I noticed based on the many random conversations that I had with participants and looking around the well-filled plenary sessions, that there is a substantial increase in the number of physicians attending this meeting. 

Judging from the questions and the people I spoke to, most of these (often younger) colleagues appear to be actively practising obesity medicine. 

This increased clinical interest in obesity management amongst MDs is also evident by the numbers of docs lining up to take the American Board of Obesity Medicine (ABOM), a clear indication that this is a fast-growing field of medicine.

Speaking of age, I was also delighted to see a younger cadre of obesity clinicians move up the ranks within the organization. 

While there were still a rather large number of presentations from the more senior obesity experts, some of whom have been around for decades, there was a noticeable presence of younger clinicians, who are clearly poised to take on the obesity challenge. 

This younger generation of obesity experts includes folks like Ania Jastreboff (Yale), Sean Wharton (Toronto), Scott Kahan (John Hopkins), Fatima Cody Stanford (Harvard), Sue Pedersen (Calgary) and TOS’ incoming President Jamy Ard (Wake Forest), all of whom have at least a couple of decades of working in the field ahead of them. They (and many others) represent the next generation of obesity leaders, which bodes well for the future of obesity medicine (and TOS).

The fact that they will have a lot on their hands was apparent from the substantial industry presence at this meeting (there is no scalable innovation without industry!). 

Although the industry exhibition itself was rather modest (almost insignificant compared to what you would normally see at a diabetes or cardiology meeting), all major and many minor industry players in the field were in attendance and I had interesting meetings with most, if not all, of them.

As for content besides novel treatments, there were of course plenty of presentations on other important topics including prevention policies, definitions, stigma and discrimination, adipocyte and neuroendocrine biology, mental health and a host of other topics relevant to obesity science and care.

I’m certainly looking forward to the next Obesity Week in San Antonio next year.

Dubai, UAE