Obesity Declared a Disease. So, What Happens Next?


In 2011, the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) Board of Directors declared obesity a disease state. And in 2013, the American Medical Association (AMA) agreed, approving an AACE-sponsored resolution on the floor of its House of Delegates. While many understood this to be a pivotal moment in the battle to curtail and reduce historic obesity rates, the question then heard most often was, “What happens next?”

This is what happens next:

The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) and the American College of Endocrinology (ACE) will convene The AACE/ACE Consensus Conference on Obesity: Building an Evidence Base for Comprehensive Action March 23-24, 2014 in Washington, DC. This conference is uniquely structured to consider research, information and opinions from all major stakeholders involved in the obesity arena. Representatives from the physician community, public health experts, government policy makers, health care companies, medical research and educational communities, related medical societies and associations, pharmaceutical companies and others will address the following five questions:

1) What is obesity?

2) What options are available for obesity management?

3) What is the optimal use of therapeutic modalities?

4) Can the optimal framework be cost effective?

5) What are the knowledge gaps and how can they be filled?

“It’s clear that what we’ve been doing isn’t working,” states AACE President Dr. Jeffrey Mechanick, FACN, FACP, FACE, ECNU. “We need to change the paradigm of current obesity management through cross-platform interactions and allow real-world idea and solutions to emerge.”

ACE President Dr. Daniel Einhorn, FACP, FACE, addressed the importance of the conference’s diversity of participants. “Obesity is a complex disease, influenced by innumerable factors,” he says. “We must create our evidence base with as much relevant input and diverse data as possible from the many and varying entities involved in obesity prevention and treatment.”

Keynote addresses by Dr. Patrice Harris, of the American Medical Association Board of Trustees, Dr. John Foreyt, Director of the Behavioral Medicine Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine, and Mr. Lawrence Soler, CEO of childhood obesity non-profit A Partnership for a Healthier America (whose honorary chair is First Lady Michelle Obama) will open the meeting on Sunday, March 23.

At the conclusion of the conference, a consensus statement will be drafted, reviewed and approved by the conference writing committee comprised of obesity experts and presented at a press conference at the National Press Club at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, March 25, 2014. The conference proceedings will be published in a supplement to AACE’s peer-reviewed, official journal Endocrine Practice.

Media members may register for the two-day conference, at no cost, by clicking here:aes.aace.com/meetings/37.