Standards of Care for Obesity on Menu in Dallas?

Obesity Week 2023, which this year will be conducted only on site in Dallas, Texas, from October 14 to 17, will once again offer researchers and clinicians a wide array of the latest knowledge about obesity — from preclinical research findings to the latest information about obesity prevention and patient management.

Almost 240 abstracts, which have been selected by the meeting organizers and will be presented as orals and posters, “encompass the latest advancements on a wide variety of topics, including anti-obesity medications, diagnosis and treatment of obesity, novel behavioral approaches, physical activity, aging, mechanisms and social determinants of obesity, bariatric surgery and pediatric obesity,” Ursula White, PhD, chair of The Obesity Society (TOS) Programming Committee, said in a press release that highlights 19 abstracts.

The meeting will be kicked off in a presidential plenary session with speakers that include TOS president Elizabeth Parks, PhD, University of Missouri, in Columbia; the new editor of the journal Obesity, Michael D. Jensen, MD, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota; and TOS president-elect Jamy D. Ard, MD, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Ard told Medscape that he will be sharing plans of TOS to develop a standards of care document for the treatment of adults with obesity in collaboration with the Obesity Medicine Association, Obesity Canada, the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, the European Association for the Study of Obesity (EASO), and the International Federation for the Surgery of Obesity and Metabolic Disorders.

“We have excellent practices guidelines developed by a number of organizations,” Ard noted, “but the standards of care will help to provide guidance to clinicians at the point of care and decision-making where little evidence may exist or where guidelines don’t address this.

“With more options, increasing interest, and different types of clinicians engaging in treatment [of obesity], we need to have standards that identify what quality care looks like,” he stressed.

This will be an ongoing process, Ard said, starting with identifying topics to address, then performing scientific reviews, and then publishing recommendations. The team expects to begin generating publications in 2024.

What’s New at Obesity Week 2023?

Asked what will be of special interest to clinicians at the current meeting, Ard said, “There will be some late-breaking data from the SURMOUNT-3 research program on tirzepatide. I’m sure that will be of high interest.

“I also believe there will be a few presentations that start to provide real-world experience with some of the latest generation of antiobesity medications,” he added.

The meeting will again feature an Obesity Journal symposium that will highlight five diverse, innovative articles selected by the editors and published to coincide with the meeting.

One of the articles examines drivers of weight regain ― “behavioral, psychological, and environmental predictors of weight regain among successful weight losers in a weight management program” ― by Suzanne Phelan, PhD, and colleagues.

White, from the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, told Medscape that as chair of the programming committee, she thinks that two symposia might also be of special interest to clinicians:

  • A joint symposium by TOS, EASO, and the American Association of Clinical Endocrinology (AACE) on Sunday entitled, “Setting the Stage ― Clinical Outcomes to Guide Obesity Therapy,” will cover how the severity of obesity should be staged in a complication-centric manner rather than by weight or body mass index (BMI), and response to therapy should be primarily based upon clinical outcomes that are correlated with weight reduction. The AACE and EASO have adopted the diagnostic term, “adiposity-based chronic disease.”

  • The Blackburn Symposium on the use of BMI in obesity diagnosis and treatment will be conducted on Monday and will address the history of BMI to diagnose and treat obesity, the pros, cons, and implications of using BMI as a metric, and perspectives on the use of BMI in the treatment of obesity.

In a key lecture on Sunday, Lee Kaplan, MD, Harvard Medical School, and Ania Jastreboff, MD, PhD, Yale School of Medicine, will discuss what’s in the pipeline for antiobesity medications.

The meeting will include posters and oral presentations of several further studies of setmelanotide (marketed as IMCIVREE, Rhythm Pharmaceuticals), which is designed to restore normal hunger signaling along the MC4R pathway in the brain, which can be impaired by genetic conditions (POMC and LEPR deficiency, Bardet Biedl syndrome) or injury to the hypothalamus, usually from a brain tumor (hypothalamic obesity).

These include 12-month data in hypothalamic obesity (mean percent BMI change from baseline was −24.9% across all patients, and −39.5% in children [abstract]); 3-year data in Bardet-Biedl syndrome (mean change in body weight of more than -20 kg [abstract]), and 4-year data in POMC and LEPR deficiency (mean change in body weight of more than −30 kg [abstract]).

Other presentations will include a post hoc study of semaglutide for people who are or are not taking antidepressants, and a post hoc study of predictors of better weight loss with retatrutide, among others.

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