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London 2012: Future of Obesity Treatment

How will the IDF statement change the future?

Statement designed to educate patients
Metabolic surgery a 'valid' option for treating obesity
Gianluca Bonanomi

The inaugural ‘London 2012: Future of Obesity Treatment' meeting was held at the Royal College of Physicians, London, UK, on 3 February 2012. This state of the art international symposium was attended by general practitioners, surgeons, physicians, diabetologists, endocrinologists, gastroenterologists, endoscopists, commissioners and managers, all of whom face their own specific challenges in this evolving field. In addition, an international multi-disciplinary faculty assessed the factors required to create a multidisciplinary approach involving and promoting collaboration across different specialities including physicians, surgeons, policy makers, commissioners and managers, to combat obesity. The faculty reviewed the current status of obesity treatment and discussed how best to address the challenges in the future.Mr Gianluca Bonanomi, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital London, welcomed delegates to the meeting by stating that although there is an increasing acceptance of obesity there still remains prejudice, discrimination and a lack of appreciation by the general public that obesity can have an impact of the quality of life as well as life-threatening consequences.“This is why we must ask questions about the future of obesity treatment, both in terms of prevention and treatment of this condition,” he stated. “A more pertinent question maybe: how do we allocate scarce resources?”

Professor Sir George Alberti, University of Newcastle/Imperial College London, UK, made the first presentation entitled, ‘How will the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) statement change the future?’ in which he discussed the guidelines and how and why the IDF came to its conclusions.

He began by stating that the guidelines were required because there is a global type 2 diabetes epidemic and it is ‘out of control and getting worse’. For example, in China alone there are an estimated 91 million people with diabetes. He stated that efforts to prevent obesity had failed, partly because the food industry has a major influence on governmental policy.

The statement was written by 20 leading experts in diabetes and bariatric surgery who have made a series of recommendations on the use of weight-loss surgery as a cost-effective treatment option for severely obese people with type 2 diabetes.

George Alberti

“The reason we issued on a statement was to give access to patients who without surgery would be causing a detrimental effect to their health, possibly reducing their lifespan by 20-30 years,” said Alberti. 

According to the statement there is increasing evidence that the health of obese people with type 2 diabetes, including their glucose control and other obesity-related comorbidities (conditions), can benefit substantially from bariatric surgery under certain circumstances.

The IDF's Taskforce on Epidemiology and Prevention of Diabetes convened the expert group with specific goals to:

  • Develop practical recommendations for clinicians on patient selection and management
  • Identify barriers to surgical access
  • Suggest health policies that ensure equitable access to surgery
  • Identify priorities for research

“So how will the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) statement change the future of obesity treatment? I hope they will impact upon people’s view that surgery is a valid option for treating certain patients, specifically in resolving type 2 diabetes,” concluded Alberti. “Metabolic surgery should be complimentary to medical therapy as it is the most effective treatment for patients with a BMI >35 and with a multi-disciplinary team approach including nutritionist, psychologists it can have considerable long term benefits.”

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