ObesityWeek (2019)

ObesityWeek: Scoping Out the Virtual Excitement Ahead

Who would have thought that two years could change so many things? But here we are on the cusp of our second virtual ObesityWeek® since we were all together in Las Vegas in 2019. We’ve seen a lot since then and we have a lot to look forward to in the week ahead, starting Monday. So now is the time for heading over to ObesityWeek.org, logging into the conference platform and scoping out the week ahead.

Here is a top ten list of highlights not to miss. Note that all times are in U.S. Eastern time zone.

1. Presidential Plenary

Remember when the opening session might be a bit of a yawner? Well, that is no more. In just an hour, this session will give you a whirlwind tour of some of the hottest topics up for discussion in the week ahead. Life experiences, stigma, addiction, disparities, access to care, overlaps with COVID, biological clocks, and neuroscience will all be on offer from some of the best in the field. For good measure, Presidential Medals will go to three remarkable obesity scientists. All this will be packed into two hours. Monday 10:00 am.

2. The Obesity Journal Symposium

When the Obesity journal showcases its best new papers, you can be sure it will be a treat. This year it starts with Rebecca Puhl presenting new research on policies to address weight discrimination and bullying across six nations. Four more outstanding papers follow. Don’t miss it. Thursday 3:00 pm.

3. COVID-19 and Obesity

As one pundit recently put it, COVID worsens obesity and obesity returns the favor. We count 11 excellent sessions on the subject of how these two pandemics intersect. But one we’re especially interested in hearing is Michael Osterholm talking about the implications of long COVID for people living with obesity. Monday 12:30 pm.

You can find more on sessions about COVID-19 and obesity here.

4. Diversity and Health Equity

A key theme of this ObesityWeek is diversity and health inequities. Once again, you will find many sessions on this topic, so it’s hard to choose just one. We’re highlighting the WMDPG symposium on systemic racism (Friday 3 pm), but be sure to scan the program for much more. You’ll be glad you did. In addition, new research on differences in cancer deaths between Black and White adults caught our eye. Researchers from Pennington found big disparities among men by race, but none for women. Wednesday 9:45 am.

5. An Impressive Pipeline of New Treatments

The progress on better treatments for obesity right now is impressive. Two-year data from the STEP 5 trial of semaglutide in obesity will come out on Friday at 8:45 am in two parts: weight outcomes and control of eating. While this drug is bringing new vitality to obesity treatment, a whole new pipeline of options is coming quickly behind it. So don’t miss the opening day symposium that will review the most promising ones. Monday 7:30 pm.

6. The Policy Landscape

Things are changing in policies related to obesity. The American Academy of Pediatrics is moving boldly to assure the adoption of better approaches to prevention and treatment of obesity in our youth. A joint symposium with TOS and AAP will review this progress. Monday 5:00 pm.

But of course, there’s more. For a solid dose of policy perspective on food, nutrition, and obesity policy in the current U.S. government, a policy symposium will be broadcast twice. Monday 5:00 pm and Tuesday 3:30 am.

7. Telehealth and Telemedicine

One thing COVID has clearly done is pushed us all into telemedicine and telehealth far faster than would have ever happened without the imperative of this pandemic. ObesityWeek is filled with info on how this is unfolding. The Society of General Internal Medicine is sponsoring a symposium on experiences and best practices for telehealth and telemedicine. Wednesday 3:00 pm.

8. Equitable Access to Bariatric Surgery

Bariatric surgery is one of the most effective and lasting treatments we have for obesity and related metabolic disease. Yet the utilization is absurdly low and even worse for racial and ethnic minorities. A whole symposium is devoted to exploring this vexing problem. Tuesday 3:00 pm.

9. Taking the Food Cues

We are immersed in cues to eat every time we turn around. This is the wonder of pervasive and effective food marketing beyond the ads. In a symposium from the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior top experts will present the neuroscience that explains why this is so important. Tuesday 10:30 am.

10. Precision Nutrition and Obesity

Clearly, one size doesn’t fit all for nutrition or for dealing with obesity. This is why the idea of precision nutrition has such massive appeal. But this appealing concept has been slow to work its way into actual practice on a large scale. This symposium will offer a detailed look at where we stand. Tuesday 5:00 pm.

Distant Memory: OW2019; photograph by Ted Kyle

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October 29, 2021

2 Responses to “ObesityWeek: Scoping Out the Virtual Excitement Ahead”

  1. November 01, 2021 at 9:24 am, DONNA RYAN said:

    Thanks, Ted, for this synopsis! AND for the Symposium Shout Out.

    • November 01, 2021 at 12:07 pm, Ted said:

      The Journal Symposium is always an OW highlight!