Announcements from the AMA and the AAP, plus innovative drug launches, are some of the major developments in Obesity Medicine.
The year has opened with a number of important new milestones in obesity medicine. Healthcare professionals have long understood that obesity is not a character flaw or a choice. Instead, it is a chronic, complex, relapsing disease caused by genetic, environmental, and behavioral factors. We now have an arsenal of newly developed treatments and a greater availability of accurate information. This enables us to provide better care to communities affected by obesity.
The AMA Takes a Stand
The AMA Board of Trustees is taking bold steps this year with its newly passed policy initiative, “Addressing Obesity.” With this measure, the AMA commits to taking a leadership role in promoting treatment and access to care for obesity on parity with other chronic diseases. This will be the most impactful initiative taken by the AMA since the Society declared obesity a disease in 2013. With the new initiative, the AMA will be at the forefront of efforts to overcome stigma around obesity, advocate for aggressive intervention, and promote accessible, effective treatment approaches.
New Obesity Drug Treatments
As of this year, we will see the arrival of the next generation of obesity drug treatments, including Semaglutide (Wegovy) and the expected approval of Tirzepatide. Semaglutide is a weekly injection that is self-administered with a pre-filled pen. It is prescribed for chronic weight management in adults with obesity or overweight with at least one weight-related condition, such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, or high cholesterol. Late in 2022, Tirzepatide was put on the fast track for development and is now expected to be released this spring. The medication has been shown to help adults with diabetes lose weight, although broader uses are to be expected.
Ending the Stigma Around Children With Obesity
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released the first comprehensive Clinical Practice Guideline for the Evaluation and Treatment of Children and Adolescents With Obesity. This is a pivotal step in advocating for early clinical treatment for children with obesity. While there is plenty of evidence showing that the early treatment of children with diabetes is safe and effective, there are still misconceptions surrounding the treatment of children who have obesity and overweight. The newly released AAP guidelines should assist in creating productive conversations for treating children with obesity and help to alleviate the stigma that surrounds this pediatric disease.
Obesity Medicine 2023 Conference
The Obesity Medicine 2023 Conference is April 19-23 in New York. As always, it will be an exciting opportunity to learn from the best in obesity treatment and discover innovative approaches for our practices. The Spring conference will offer a review course for the ABOM exam, along with a conference about the Fundamentals of Obesity treatment. The Obesity Medicine 2023 Conference will be the event for healthcare professionals looking to hone their skills and connect with professionals treating patients with obesity today. For more information and to register for the conference, visit https://obesitymedicine.org/spring/registration/.