Ted Kyle, Susie Birney, and Solveig Sigurdardottir at ECO2023

ECO2023: Obesity Outcomes That Matter to Patients

The current sensation around advanced medicines for obesity all too often focuses on a single outcome – weight loss. On the opening day of ECO2023, a symposium by the SQOT project reminds us that outcomes other than weight loss can matter to patients quite a lot. In reality, the reason that many people seek obesity care is ultimately to improve their quality of life. Sally Abbott explains the importance of these measures in clinical practice in an abstract for this symposium:

“Obesity treatments have a significant impact on the quality of life (QoL) of people living with obesity (PLWO). QoL should therefore be routinely assessed in clinical practice to inform PLWO on the outcomes that matter most to them.”

Diverse Experiences, Priorities, and Outcomes

At the opening of this symposium, ConscienHealth’s Ted Kyle explained that people seeking care for obesity bring diverse experiences with them. It’s not just that this a heterogeneous disease. But the effects on quality of life can be quite different from one person to another. So quite naturally, people may hold very different priorities and perspectives about outcomes that matter for their better quality of life. “One size  fits all is a prescription for failure,” said Kyle.

SQOT: Standardizing Quality of Life Measures in Obesity Treatment

Given the diversity of lived experiences with obesity, the challenge undertaken by the SQOT initiative is significant. The organizers explain:

“Our non-profit organization is the result of an international collaboration of people living with obesity and healthcare professionals working in the field of obesity. We aim to achieve a global consensus regarding the key components of Quality of Life in the treatment of obesity and the preferred Patient-Reported Outcome Measures (PROMs) to capture this information.”

Thus, the goal is to develop two robust sets of measures for quality of life to meet this challenge. One set will be for research. The other for clinical practice.

This emphasis at ECO2023 on outcomes beyond weight that matter to patients is an positive signal for the future of obesity care. That future has the potential to improve the lives of more people with different needs arising from the heterogeneous disease of obesity.

Click here and here for more information about the SQOT initiative and here for Kyle’s slides from the meeting.

Ted Kyle, Susie Birney, and Solveig Sigurdardottir at ECO2023; photograph by Ted Kyle / ConscienHealth

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May 17, 2023

3 Responses to “ECO2023: Obesity Outcomes That Matter to Patients”

  1. May 17, 2023 at 9:41 am, Angie Golden said:

    This is fantastic! I get so tired of the outcome of weight loss being the primary focus. Not once have I treated a patient that’s quality of life outcome hasn’t been our goal. It is the patients WHY that keeps them in treatment.

  2. May 17, 2023 at 10:54 am, Jodeanna "Jaymey" Sweeney said:

    Quality of Life is so important when we talk about treating the disease of obesity. I often tell patients in our bariatric clinic that we measure success in 3 ways, Quality of Life, Quality of Health and the scale. And I ALWAYS tell them that the scale is the most insignificant of these measures. If they have improved their health and their quality of life is better / good / great – that is the true determinant of success. We use the scale as a tool but it does NOT define anyone.
    Ted, thank you for the work you do on continuing to educate and share information to help improve care, and to decrease stigma and bias!
    My Best – Jaymey

  3. May 18, 2023 at 4:21 am, Mary-Jo said:

    Much needed good news. Moving beyond WL, assessing things like GW (goal weight), IBW (ideal body weight), change in BMI can help with more effective treatments and lasting helpful changes in lives of PLWO. When I think of the years I wasted feeling ‘not enough’, even a ‘failure’, because I couldn’t reach a certain weight, it makes me sad. People DO think it’s helpful, but it was destructive for me. Fellow HCPs said it (you’re the example! You’re doing great, now keep on going!), feedback from friends (looking good, but you still have a ways to go to look great!) just reflected what has been baked in to weight measures being THE outcome that matters most, both in medical terms and by society’s definition.