ObesityWeek 2015 brings researchers and health professionals together on the subject of weight loss, obesity prevention, surgery techniques and public health policy, and has over 1,000 abstracts being presented. The international event, underway through Nov. 7 in Los Angeles, is being hosted by The Obesity Society (TOS) and the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS).
One of the key focuses this year is US health policy coverage available to obesity patients. Some of the presentations explore California’s policies to reduce obesity and increase access to healthcare services addressing the epidemic. Dr. Peter D. Vash, MD, a TOS member and assistant clinical professor of medicine at UCLA Medical Center, said of California’s obesity epidemiology: “Nearly 1 in 4 adults in California have obesity. While California has one of lowest rates in the country, the rate has increased by 6 percent since 2000. Many people see obesity as a lifestyle condition; however, science tells us that obesity is a serious, chronic disease caused by many factors. It also leads to more than 30 other health conditions, such as heart disease and cancer.”
Health policy makers and leaders are discussing trends in healthcare access to obesity treatment, and how discriminatory health plans hinder patient participation and adherence to appropriate care. While studies reveal that a high proportion of patients still need to pay out-of-pocket for obesity-related healthcare services, experts will discuss the progress that is being made to evolve health policy in treating obesity, making these services more accessible through health plans. The controversial topic of taxes on sugar and their effectiveness will also be debated.
Presentations also cover a wider range of subjects, such as novel research progress, genetic influences on food intake, bariatric surgery, parental influence in child obesity, and poor sleep effect. The event is expected to be a science communication and networking meeting that will involve the community in understanding not only the disease and its prevention and treatment, but also the stigma faced by obesity patients. ObesityWeek 2015 also coincides with the first National Obesity Care Week (NOCW), an initiative that brings together more than 35 U.S. healthcare organizations for the advancement of new approaches in the treatment of obesity.