November 04, 2019
3 min read

Annual meeting highlights intersection of obesity, diabetes

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ObesityWeek 2019 offers attendees a full schedule of cutting-edge nutrition, obesity, public policy and bariatric surgery research, with a special series of lectures this year focusing on type 2 diabetes, one of obesity’s more common comorbidities.

Paul MacLean

The seventh annual ObesityWeek, convened by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) and The Obesity Society (TOS), brings together approximately 5,500 attendees to take in scientific presentations, keynote lectures and networking events, as well as postgraduate courses offered for surgeons and integrated health professionals. The meeting, described as the largest international conference on obesity, takes place through Thursday at the Mandalay Bay South Convention Center in Las Vegas, and offers nurses, dietitians, mental health professionals, physicians, surgeons and researchers the opportunity to connect and share their specialized expertise and concentrations.

“ObesityWeek is really the central hub for science on obesity treatment and weight management,” Paul MacLean, PhD, professor at the University of Colorado Denver Anschutz Medical Campus and an ObesityWeek program committee co-chair, told Endocrine Today. “We are the premier society that brings a lot of different sciences and disciplines together to understand obesity and talk about how we address this worldwide epidemic.”

Matthew R. Hayes

This year’s agenda features a lineup of talks and research dedicated to the intersection of diabetes and obesity, Matthew R. Hayes, PhD, associate professor of nutritional neuroscience and vice chair of basic and translational neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania, and an ObesityWeek program committee co-chair, told Endocrine Today. On Thursday, Barbara E. Corkey, PhD, professor emeritus of medicine and former vice chair for research in the department of medicine at Boston University, will give the TOS keynote presentation, titled, “Why have we failed to decrease obesity and diabetes?”

“Dr. Corkey will be presenting a lifetime of research on efforts to understand pancreatic beta cell signaling pathways and how these efforts have opened new avenues of obesity research,” Hayes said.

The program also showcases research on obesity across the life cycle, Hayes said.

“One thing that stands out is our need to look at obesity across the life cycle, not just in an aging population, but also the prenatal programming that is implicated and is becoming a greater focus for our society, to look at ways to prevent obesity from occurring,” Hayes said. “As much as we are looking at ways to treat obesity, we have to change policies and practice and increase education and outreach and really look at the mechanisms that set up early life to increase the risk for developing obesity.”


Organizers noted several other highlights for this year’s meeting:

  • William T. Cefalu, MD, director of the division of diabetes, endocrinology and metabolic diseases at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) at the NIH, will deliver the joint TOS and ASMBS keynote talk on Tuesday at 8 a.m.
  • The Blackburn Symposium “Intermittent Fasting and Circadian Rhythms — Does It Matter When You Eat?” will outline new research on how the timing of meals can influence glucose response, energy expenditure and metabolic health on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m.
  • Key lecturers Diana Thomas, PhD, FTOS, professor of mathematics at the United States Military Academy, and Jameson Voss, MD, MPH, chief of precision medicine for the Air Force Medical Service will discuss inclusivity, BMI guidelines for military service and whether they should be revised in a session called “Are we fit to fight?” on Thursday at 11 a.m.
  • The pediatric committees of TOS and ASMBS will discuss treatments for obesity among children in a forum titled “Pediatric Obesity — the Global Perspective,” on Thursday at 10:30 a.m.

As part of a focus on early-career events, NIDDK staff join with TOS for a special joint symposium on Monday, titled “Landing your first R01,” to offer tools and tips on submitting a first investigator-initiated grant to the NIH.

“In addition, we make a concerted effort on the program committee to showcase talent at every stage of research,” MacLean said. “Our oral abstract sessions are presented primarily by graduate students and post docs. The symposium lectures include a mix of junior faculty and senior faculty, and we try to make diversity a major component for all sessions, with a range of ages and underrepresented minorities. This meeting is not the same individuals giving the same talks. We are always showcasing something new.”

The Healio and Endocrine Today staff will provide coverage from ObesityWeek, including reports on the sessions, exclusive interviews and much more. For more information on the ObesityWeek agenda and registration, visit www.obesityweek.com. – by Regina Schaffer

Disclosure: Hayes and MacLean are program committee co-chairs for ObesityWeek.