The View from OW2023: A Pivotal Year for Obesity Care

Atom on the Ether Plane Is in Constant Change Between Rest and ActivityOver the last four years, we’ve been through a lot – not all of it especially good. But the view from OW2023 as it starts today in Dallas points to a pivotal year for obesity care. A good year.

Dare we say it. The world seems to be pivoting toward a much more helpful approach to this complex chronic disease.

Roadmap to the Pivot

Presenting a keynote in today’s UT Southwestern Medical Center Weight Wellness Day, ConscienHealth founder Ted Kyle explains how we have arrived at this point. It comes after many decades of efforts to cope with the rising prevalence of obesity and its health effects:

“Fifty years ago, medical and public health authorities thought preventing obesity could be simple. ‘Most Obesity could, with care, be prevented,’ said a 1974 editorial in Lancet. Arthur Frank observed in 1993 that even as the prevalence of obesity was rising, colleagues dismissed his work in obesity care as time wasted ‘working with fat, middle-aged ladies.’”

In short, until now, most health professionals did not take obesity treatment seriously. People living with obesity faced mostly stigma and dismissal from the medical establishment.

A Pivot in 2023

Without a doubt, we are seeing a dramatic pivot this year. The Wall Street Journal, tells us “it’s biology over willpower” for explaining obesity. Effective obesity treatments make it unmistakable.

An Incomplete Turn

Kyle cautions that this pivot is not complete. Confusion persists about many aspects of obesity. People have a tough time understanding it as a chronic condition that requires ongoing care. They get stuck on the limitations of BMI and how to care for kids who are living with obesity.

So he tells us that we all have a role to play. We need discipline to stick with facts about obesity and let go of false presumptions. A deeper understanding of obesity science can help. Support for genuinely effective prevention strategies needs greater focus. We must demand systems for better care, because they will not come without our vocal support.

And perhaps most important, we must reject bias and stigma.

The pivot we are making on obesity is great news. We must see it through.

Click here for Kyle’s presentation at the UTSW Weight and Wellness Day.

Atom on the Ether Plane Is in Constant Change Between Rest and Activity, watercolor by Hilma af Klint / WikiArt

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October 23, 2023

One Response to “The View from OW2023: A Pivotal Year for Obesity Care”

  1. October 14, 2023 at 11:08 am, Angela Golden said:

    WOW – your presentation looks amazing! Ted I love the slide A Few Issues to Watch but especially appreciate the statement Are we: •Treating obesity or selling weight loss? BINGO!!!! We have so much trouble with evidence based obesity care when there are professionals selling weight loss! Thank you