Reflecting on Accomplishments in the Understanding and Treatment of Obesity in 2017

| December 1, 2017

A Message from Dr. Christopher Still

Christopher Still, DO, FACN, FACP, Co-Clinical Editor, Bariatric Times; Medical Director for the Center for Nutrition and Weight Management, and Director for Geisinger Obesity Research Institute, Geisinger Medical Center, Danville, Pennsylvania.

Dear Colleagues,

As we conclude 2017 and look toward 2018, I would like to reflect on the year in terms of accomplishments in the understanding and treatment of obesity, and highlight opportunities for the coming year.

Regarding treatment, new pharmacotherapies are continuing to move through the pipeline, with preliminary evidence of “significant weight loss” efficacy and continued safety. Additionally, reimbursement for anti-obesity medications is continuously increasing as employers and payers see their efficacy and significant improvement in health. Moreover, new endoluminal therapies and devices are emerging.

The Obesity Medicine specialty continues to thrive. This year, over 700 physicians have applied to sit for the 2018 American Board of Obesity Medicine (ABOM) certifying exam. These successful diplomats will add to the nearly 2,100 diplomats currently certified by the ABOM. It’s great to see the steady growth of physicians taking the initiative to advance their knowledge, understanding, and treatment of obesity. Kudos to Dr. Bob Kushner for his insight and determination in bringing the ABOM to fruition.

ObesityWeek 2017 in Washington, DC, was the best yet! The scientific sessions were exceptional, and the topics focused on bringing both organizations together for great collaborations. During ObesityWeek, The Obesity Society (TOS) and American Society for Metaboloic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) welcomed their new presidents: Dr. Caroline Apovian and Samer Mattar, respectively. Having the honor of knowing them both personally as well as their passion for the respected treatment for patients suffering from the disease of obesity, there is no doubt that they will both have exceedingly successful presidencies.

Speaking of successful conferences in 2017, the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC) Annual Convention welcomed upward of 550 participants at their Your Weight Matters National Convention this year. This is such a great patient-centered, scientifically-based convention. It is a great resource to help patients understand their weight and health and connect with others. I urge all of you to have your patients attend the 2018 convention in Denver, Colorado.

As we look forward to 2018, there are many great opportunities for the field of obesity. Hopefully, additional anti-obesity medications will be approved with continued increases in reimbursement.  Another “opportunity” will be the increased awareness, diagnostics, and potential therapeutic treatment options for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). NASH, because of obesity, has reached epidemic proportions and will soon be the number one indication for liver transplantation.  Weight loss will remain its primary treatment recommendation.  Medical and surgical weight loss interventions will lead the way in treatment of this chronic, progressive disease. I believe that we, as experts on obesity, are well situated to be the leader in these patients’ treatment.

Finally, I would like to acknowledge Dr. Raul Rosenthal, whom I had the pleasure of serving as co-clinical editor at Bariatric Times for the last few years. It was a true honor, and I wish Raul continued success at Surgery for Obesity and Related Diseases (SOARD). Going forward, I am very excited to work with our new Clinical Editor, Dr. John Morton. With John’s passion for treating obesity and his understanding of both medical and surgical treatment options, I think John will make a fantastic editor, and I look forward to assisting him in the new year.

May you all have a blessed holiday, continued success, good health, and happiness in 2018!

 

Sincerely,

Christopher Still, DO, FACN, FACP

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