Obesity Medicine Association’s Overcoming Obesity Conference Highlights Trending Topics in Obesity Medicine

| December 1, 2019 | 0 Comments

by Craig Primack, MD, FACP, FAAP, FOMA, DABOM

Dr. Primack is Medical Bariatrician/Certified Medical Obesity Specialist/Co-medical Director, Scottsdale Weight Loss Center PLLC, in Scottsdale, Arizona, and President of the Obesity Medicine Association.

Funding: No funding was provided.

Disclosures: Craig Primack is President of the Obesity Medicine Association.

Bariatric Times. 2019;16(12):20–21.

The Obesity Medicine Association (OMA)’s annual Overcoming Obesity conference brought more than 1,000 of the country’s top experts to Boston, Massachusetts, for a five-day symposium to explore America’s most pressing public health issue—the obesity epidemic. This year’s theme, “Treating Obesity Across the Lifespan,” gave the conference attendees an opportunity to examine the impact of obesity across different age groups, sexes, and socioeconomic populations, and in patients with complex obesity-related diseases.1

On-Demand Resources from the 2019 Fall Obesity Summit

Physicians, nurse practitioners (NPs), physician assistants (PAs), nurses, and other healthcare professionals who would like to advance their knowledge of obesity medicine, but were unable to join the OMA for Overcoming Obesity 2019, can access the conference’s primary sessions and pursue continuing education credits for featured conference content.2

2019 Fall Obesity Summit Main Room Sessions (17.75 CME/CE). This recording covers the key sessions presented during the conference. Learn how to identify the unique risk factors of patients with obesity across the lifespan and gain insight into trending topics in the field of obesity medicine, such as the influence of the food industry on obesity, best practices on treating low-income patients with obesity, and the impact of pediatric obesity on the lifespan.3

2019 Review Course for the American Board of Obesity Medicine (ABOM) Exam (12.5 CME/CE). This recording offers a thorough review of the core content covered on the ABOM certification exam with a clinical focus—so you’re not only prepared to take the test, but you’re well equipped to deliver evidence-based care to your patients with obesity. New in 2019, the Review Course places a greater emphasis on case-based questions during each session.4

Pediatric Obesity Track (5.5 CME/CE). This first-of-its-kind track offers advanced pediatric-specific education for healthcare providers who have previous experience managing obesity in pediatric patients. Learn the differences in evaluation, disease markers, and treatment tactics in pediatric patients versus in adults.5

Obesity Medicine Practice Management (3.25 CME/CE). During this advanced workshop, learn how to make your obesity medicine practice more profitable and successful. Discover opportunities to grow your obesity medicine practice, generate more revenue, and broaden your reach to more patients with obesity.6

Healthcare professionals can unlock discounted pricing on these and other continuing education recordings by becoming a member of the OMA.7

2019 Fall Obesity Summit Session Highlights

Obesity treatment in low-income patients. Presented by Caroline M. Apovian, MD, FACN, FACP, DABOM. Low-income patients with obesity are among the most vulnerable to come into our practices. Dr. Apovian offered attendees the opportunity to identify the unique risk factors for low-income patients with obesity and learn the best practices for treating obesity in this population include the following key takeaways:

Black and Hispanic women represent the socioeconomic populations that are most likely to live with obesity.

Educational attainment has a positive correlation to the likelihood of obesity. One-third of adults who did not graduate from high school live with obesity. In comparison, 21.5 percent of adults who graduated from college or technical college live with obesity.

Education might also hold the key to successfully treating obesity in low-income patients. Fresh food pantries and cooking classes are effective and can have a lasting positive impact for these populations.

Countering food industry influence. Presented by Marion Nestle, PhD. As the food industry has grown in influence, so have Americans’ waistlines. Dr. Nestle explored the food industry’s impact on consumer food choices and, by extension, the obesity epidemic.

Key takeaways:

  • The number of calories in the food supply per capita has doubled since the 1980s, and the average restaurant meal is four times larger today than in the 1950s. Meanwhile, the prices of fresh foods have increased substantially while the cost of junk food remains low.
  • More unbiased food science research must be done. The majority of food studies are sponsored by major industry players, which could bias results favor the sponsors’ interests. A recent study evaluated 168 food studies, and a staggering 156 of them favored their sponsors’ interests.
  • The industry wields a strong influence over public policy. Members of the board for the 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans are not required to disclose conflicts of interest, and many board members are tied to big food industry players like Burger King, Nestle, Gerber, and General Mills. As a result, the guidelines are silent on vital issues, such as ultra-processed foods, meat and sodium consumption, and sustainability.

Using meal replacements to treat obesity. Presented by Angela Fitch, MD, FACP, FOMA. There are a number of effective treatment strategies for obesity, and meal replacements offer a number of advantages. Dr. Fitch examined both the lifestyle and metabolic benefits of incorporating meal replacements into obesity treatment include the following key takeaways:

  • Treating obesity is more about skill power than will power. Meal replacements help patients learn the skills to make needed lifestyle changes by providing structure, accountability, and environmental and stimulus control, in addition to activating metabolic advantages.
  • Meal replacements offer patients easy-to-follow, low-carbohydrate, higher-protein meal plans that they can start at the outset of their lifestyle change journey.
  • Higher-protein lifestyles deliver a range of benefits, including better fat loss, appetite control, and satiety.

Managing overeating: the key intersection between psychology and neuroscience. Presented by David A. Macklin, MD, CCFP, and Sandy Van, CCFP, DABOM. Many patients living with obesity also struggle with overeating. Drs. Macklin and Van took a look at the neurological drivers behind overeating, as well as the benefits of bringing cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) into treatment include the following key takeaways:

  • The three innate drivers in the central nervous system that account for the behavioral dysfunctions behind overeating are the homeostatic system, the hedonic/reward system, and the executive system. But, it is possible to lose weight and keep it off by utilizing two key psychological skills: restraint and resilience.
  • CBT is the gold standard for treating mental health issues related to obesity. By replacing dysfunctional thinking with more helpful thought patterns, patients with obesity can experience an average weight loss of 8.6 percent at one year. CBT can also have a positive impact on both binge-eating and depressive symptoms.

Mental health in pediatric obesity. Presented by Melissa Santos, PhD. Our youngest patients who live with obesity are more likely to live with depression and anxiety. In this session, Dr. Santos gave attendees a closer look at the impact of pediatric obesity on mental health include the following key takeaways:

  • Children with obesity have health-related quality of life scores comparable to children with cancer.
  • A significant number of children with obesity also struggle with mental health issues. More than half report clinically significant symptoms of depression, and one-third report significant levels of anxiety. Twenty-three percent of kids living with obesity say they feel they aren’t as smart as their peers. And one-quarter of girls report using extreme behaviors to control their weight, including laxatives, diet pills, and vomiting.

Childhood obesity and its effects across the lifespan. Presented by William H. Dietz, MD, PhD. Childhood obesity has a lasting impact on patient outcomes well into adulthood. In this session, Dr. Dietz examined the effects of pediatric obesity on overall health throughout the lifespan and the implications for obesity prevention and management for patients of all ages include the following key takeaways:

  • More than 60 percent of children who were two years of age in 2016 will be living with obesity when they are 35 years of age.
  • The top three sources of caloric intake for children were cookies, pizza, and sugary drinks.
  • We can address obesity in children by taking a multiprong approach that includes increased exposure to physical education and recess, nutritional standards for school meals, and access to outdoor recreation facilities and infrastructure that support walking and biking.

Physicians, NPs, PAs, nurses, and other healthcare professionals interested in growing their clinical knowledge of obesity and obesity-related diseases can also attend OMA’s spring symposium, Obesity Medicine 2020, in Phoenix, Arizona, on April 1 to 5.8 In addition to learning more about implementing obesity treatment techniques into their practices, attendees will have opportunities to network with industry experts, receive mentorship from seasoned obesity medicine clinicians, and meet vendors in the exhibit hall so you can see all of the cutting-edge technology and products to help you in your practice. Register by March 6, 2020, to save up to $300 with early-bird pricing.9

As key players in the fight against obesity, it is vital for healthcare professionals to continually advance their knowledge of this complex disease to create more positive outcomes for the country’s most vulnerable patients. Becoming a member of the OMA offers a number of opportunities to do just that.7 Members get discounted access to key obesity medicine resources and research, as well as continuing education and networking opportunities at OMA’s annual conferences.


  1. Scinta W. Obesity Medicine Association (OMA) Overcoming Obesity 2019 preview. Bariatric Times. 2019;16(10):17.
  2. Fall 2019 Conference Recordings. Obesity Medicine Association. http://oma.peachnewmedia.com/store/provider/custompage.php?pageid=2130. Accessed 18 November 2019.
  3. 2019 Fall Obesity Summit Main Room Sessions. Obesity Medicine Association. http://oma.peachnewmedia.com/store/seminar/seminar.php?seminar=145807. Accessed 18 November 2019.
  4. 2019 Review Course for the ABOM Exam. Obesity Medicine Association. http://oma.peachnewmedia.com/store/seminar/seminar.php?seminar=146671. Accessed 18 November 2019.
  5. 2019 Pediatric Track—Fall Obesity Summit. Obesity Medicine Association. http://oma.peachnewmedia.com/store/seminar/seminar.php?seminar=145844. Accessed 18 November 2019.
  6. 2019 Obesity Medicine Practice Management. Obesity Medicine Association. http://oma.peachnewmedia.com/store/seminar/seminar.php?seminar=145844. Accessed 18 November 2019.
  7. Join the Obesity Medicine Association. Obesity Medicine Association. https://obesitymedicine.org/join/. Accessed 18 November 2019.
  8. Obesity Medicine 2020. Obesity Medicine Association. https://obesitymedicine.org/spring/. Accessed 18 November 2019.
  9. Registration Pricing. Obesity Medicine Association. https://obesitymedicine.org/spring/pricing/. Accessed 18 November 2019.

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Category: Past Articles, Symposium Synopsis

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