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International experts gather for London summit on obesity epidemic

01 February 2012

Some of the world’s leading experts are gathering in London this week for an international summit meeting—The Future of Obesity Treatment—to discuss how to respond to the rapidly increasing global epidemic of obesity.

Some of the world’s leading experts are gathering in London this week for an international summit meeting—The Future of Obesity Treatment—to discuss how to respond to the rapidly increasing global epidemic of obesity.

Doctors from Chelsea and Westminster Hospital have organised the symposium at the Royal College of Physicians on Friday (3 February) which has attracted delegates from the UK, US and Europe.

Mr Gianluca Bonanomi (pictured right), Consultant Surgeon at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital and Co-Director of the symposium, says: “Obesity is the most important healthcare issue facing us in the UK and globally because of its consequences for people’s health and the resources required to treat it.

“We have organised this summit to review the current status of obesity treatment and to discuss how best to address the challenges of the future.”

In England 23% of adults are obese and 61% are either overweight or obese, according to official statistics, and the Government-commissioned Foresight report has predicted that, if decisive action is not taken, 60% of men, 50% of women and 25% of children will be obese by 2050.

The cost to the NHS of overweight and obesity is more than £5bn a year.

Globally levels of obesity have more than doubled since 1980, according to the World Health Organisation.

International speakers at this Friday’s meeting include Dr Christopher Thompson (Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Director of Bariatric and Developmental Endoscopy at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts) and Dr Philip R. Schauer (Chief of Minimally Invasive General Surgery and Director of the Bariatric and Metabolic Institute at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio).

UK speakers include Professor Sir George Alberti (former President of the Royal College of Physicians) and Professor Steve Bloom (Head of Division for Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism at Imperial College London).

Mr Bonanomi says: “Surgery is an effective treatment for some obese patients but it is not a magic bullet. The purpose of this week’s summit in London is to bring together surgeons, physicians and other experts in the field to discuss surgical, medical and novel therapeutic approaches to obesity treatment.

“It will culminate in a debate that will ask what will be the answer to turning back the tide of obesity—a scalpel, a tablet or an endoscope.”

The Future of Obesity Treatment is organised by Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in collaboration with Imperial College London—it is endorsed by organisations including the Royal College of Surgeons, the Royal Society of Medicine, British Obesity & Metabolic Surgery Society, Diabetes UK and the National Obesity Forum.

Mr Gianluca Bonanomi has extensive experience as a surgeon specialising in bariatric and metabolic surgery—he is a member of the American Society of Bariatric Surgery, the International Federation for the Surgery of Obesity and the British Obesity and Metabolic Surgery Society.

Mr Bonanomi leads the Weight Loss (Bariatric and Metabolic) Surgery service at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital which is a ‘preferred provider’ of weight loss surgery for patients living in London, the South East and East of England—this means that it has been identified by an independent group of experts as one of the best hospitals to carry out this specialist surgery.