IFSO2017. Obesity is a disease and not a character flaw.
The 22nd World Congress Of the International Federation for the Surgery of Obesity and Metabolic Disorders was held in London at the end of August 2017.
One of the main threads of the meeting was our ongoing need to explain the science behind obesity and that it is a chronic disease, not a lifestyle choice or character deficiency.
One session explored the genetic basis for obesity and the tools we have now to look deeper at the underlying mechanisms.
There are some single genes responsible for obesity but these are quite rare. Genome Wide Association Studies are some new tools which can identify genes which make people susceptible to obesity.
Once obesity has occurred our default setting is to defend our weight.
To consider obesity with a chronic disease model we need to have:
- Societal compassion for those affected
- Recognition that it is a chronic progressive condition
- Understanding of mechanisms of disease and predictors of response.
- Definition of lifelong care pathways.
In this setting we acknowledge the various treatments available:
- Diet and Exercise programmes
- The various operations which are available, each having their own advantages and risk profile.
Each of these treatments has a role to play, for the:
- Right patient
- The right treatment, at the right time.
- Surgery must be accepted as effective and safe.
- Surgery must be accepted by insurers as a necessary
- Surgery must be integrated into the chronic disease model of care
Around the world the members of IFSO are working with governments and health payers to embrace this model of care, and to enable patients to get the treatment they need.