YWM Virtual After Hours

YWM Virtual: Translating Advances in Obesity

Translating the stunning advances we’re presently seeing in obesity into something that both patients and professionals can appreciate is no small feat. But this is what just happened over the weekend at the Obesity Action Coalition YWM Virtual conference. A planning team led by Bob Kushner and Scott Kahan assembled a small faculty of some of the smartest people in the field to deliver a tightly structured program covering a remarkably broad range of important subjects.

They did it with less than five hours of presentations,  including Q&A. In the process they reached more than 1,500 people all around the world. And the reach will continue, because people can still access the content to watch in off hours.

A Central Role for Lived Experiences

One of the highlights was hearing from Emma Farrell and Carel le Roux about the truly exceptional work they are doing to bring the lived experiences of people with obesity into view. Le Roux explained:

“What we’re trying to do is to marry logic and hard-core science of obesity with the emotion from patients experiencing the disease. When we speak to stakeholders and policymakers, it’s no good just bringing the logic. It’s also no good when you only bring the emotion. But when you bring them together, it’s really very powerful for bringing change.”

Navigating Cultural Controversies

Tremendous progress in obesity is frankly unsettling. It robs people of comfortable but false assumptions they’ve been making for years. So it was great to see some really fabulous presentations from on two points of controversy – body positivity perspectives and the new guidance for medical care of children and youth with obesity.

Robyn Pashby offered outstanding perspective on the evolution of fat acceptance and body positivity movements over many decades. Though she is a clinical psychologist, she could have passed as a historian offering outstanding clarity for the path that has brought us to our present controversies. She described an important middle ground where we can focus not on weight, but on health and body functionality.

Aaron Kelly presented an excellent overview of new pediatric obesity guidelines. These guidelines have been a godsend to some people and quite disturbing to others. But the important thing is that they’ve started a conversation.

The Growing Array of Options

A theme throughout this virtual meeting is the growing array of options that we have for people seeking obesity care. From Merrill Littleberry offering insights on adapting to a post-pandemic world to John Morton presenting the latest insights on bariatric surgery, the range was impressive.

But perhaps no subject is bringing us more change than the stunning advances in obesity medicines. Ania Jastreboff was the perfect person to offer perspective on where we’ve come and where we’re going with all of these new medicines. The bottom line is that we need diverse options because the biological basis for obesity can be very different for different people. Everyone’s journey is unique, she said.

So we should not expect one miraculous new medicine to be the answer for everyone. But with each advance, better care can come into the realm of possibility for more people. We’re seeing it happen every day.

Click here for le Roux’s presentation slides, here for the slides from Pashby, and here for the slides from Kelly. But for the full view, we enthusiastically recommend that you go to the YWM Virtual platform here and watch all five hours at your leisure. Even if you haven’t yet done it, you can still sign up for access (with CE credits if you like) for a modest fee.

YWM Virtual After Hours, photograph by Ted Kyle

Subscribe by email to follow the accumulating evidence and observations that shape our view of health, obesity, and policy.


May 1, 2023

2 Responses to “YWM Virtual: Translating Advances in Obesity”

  1. May 01, 2023 at 10:35 am, John DiTraglia said:

    Science is so optimistic. Sociology and politics is so discouraging. Explains a lot about the difficulty of making progress in obesity prevention.

    • May 01, 2023 at 11:45 am, Ted said:

      Excellent observation, John. Explains a lot about the difficulty of making progress in obesity prevention.