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July 9, 2024

Insights From Obesity Medicine Conference 2024

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We love visiting Denver due to its unique cultural discoveries and unique outdoor spaces. While Denver is famous for having one of the most walkable downtowns in the US, we also visit the city for our favorite spots like Little Man Ice Cream, Queen City Coffee, and Rosenberg's Bagels. This year, we had another reason to be excited about Denver: it hosted the Obesity Medicine Conference 2024!

The conference started with an inspiring opening address from OMA President Dr. Angela Fitch. She shared the impressive growth of OMA over the past year, including 1,200 participants at the annual conference, a 12% increase in membership, and a 70% retention rate. She also introduced the new OMA President, Dr. Lydia Alexander. Together, they outlined the key strategies for 2024.

One major initiative is the Treat or Refer Campaign, in alignment with Project Echo. This educational program aims to deepen providers' understanding of obesity as a chronic disease, improve their comfort and competency in treating it, and foster a community of obesity medicine champions across the U.S.

We then heard a moving narration from Stefanie Thrilling, JD. She shared her weight management journey, reminding us that each patient's experience with obesity is unique. She emphasized the importance of addressing patients' concerns and listening to their stories without bias, as this can be a transformative step in their treatment.

Dr. Harold E Bays delivered a captivating presentation on emerging anti-obesity medications. He discussed promising new injectables like "triple G" GLP-1/GIP/GCG Tri-agonists (Retratrutide) and CagriSema (GLP-1RA + amylin analog) highlighting their potential in obesity management. These were just a few of the promising new innovations “in the pipeline” he mentioned. He also revisited the SELECT Trial, which demonstrated the cardiovascular benefits of Semaglutide for patients with preexisting cardiovascular disease and obesity.

Dr. Sahil Khanna's session on the gut microbiome's role in obesity treatment was another highlight. The conference was packed! He explained the complexity of the gut microbiota and its potential as a target for obesity treatment, though he noted that fecal transplants are not a viable solution. Yet…

Resistance training to prevent muscle mass loss was a key theme at the conference. Jeff Young’s detailed talk on aerobic exercise and progressive strength conditioning was particularly impactful. He stressed the importance of evidence-based exercise recommendations and encouraged improving our fitness levels. He even recommended checking out strength standards at Finally, to truly bridge the gap between medicine and fitness he recommended referral to a qualified fitness professional if possible. I (Dr. Vedala) learned so much during his talk, that I came home and changed up my own workout routine to align with his evidence-based recommendations!

Saturday featured a Year in Review session led by Dr. Fitch and Dr. Alexander, who discussed numerous studies, including multiple on coffee consumption. These stuck out to me due to my addiction. The good news is that using sugar in coffee or tea was not significantly associated with higher mortality or diabetes incidence, though an added teaspoon of sugar was linked to slight weight gain over four years. (links to studies).

OMA this year also highlighted the topic of women’s health and its association with obesity during menopause. Many women at present struggle with middle age crisis and have weight gain during menopause despite lifestyle modification. There is limited data that supports the right approach to maintain the hormonal imbalance. The talk by Dr. Mariela H. Andrade was very informative. Dr. Andrade discussed the impact of an increase in cardiometabolic risk factors during menopause and how clinicians should consider a holistic approach to managing weight gain at this age.

We also had wonderful sessions about Nutrition focusing on the plant-based diet by Jennifer Young MD and the use of continuous glucose monitors in weight management by Dr. Bindlish and Lori Wenz. Continuous glucose monitors are now used widely for diabetes management but their role in Obesity practice can help patients to understand the glycemic variability that can help manage insulin resistance.

The day continued with insightful sessions from pediatric specialists on topics like PCOS, pharmacotherapy in adolescents, and pediatric dyslipidemia. These talks were incredibly informative and broadened our understanding of these issues.

Sunday’s highlights included a comprehensive lecture on Lipedema by Dr. Celia M. Egan, Dr. Thomas Hagopian, and Dr. Karie Rego. They covered diagnosis, treatments, surgical procedures, and insurance coverage, revealing that many insurance plans, including BCBS, Medicare, Medicaid, and Tricare, cover lipedema treatments.

The Role of Lifestyle Medicine session, led by Dr. John D. Clark III and Dr. Bethany Agusala, was another standout. They discussed how therapeutic lifestyle interventions as a primary modality of treatment can treat chronic conditions like cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, and obesity. Collaboration between lifestyle medicine and obesity medicine specialists can provide optimal results for patients, emphasizing the importance of coaching patients to develop sustainable management skills.

In addition, the Board review course and exciting culinary workshop were exemplary and it was really interesting to see the engagement from the audience.

Overall, we gained a wealth of knowledge and met some incredible people. The best part of the conference that we always enjoy is the networking event. The OMA team has brought great and unique ideas during every conference that brings the attendees together. This year was even special, and the tour of Empower Field, home of the Denver Broncos, was the cherry on top.

This conference is a must-attend for anyone interested in obesity medicine and studying for board certification. As we continue to understand this complex disease, we move closer to a healthier future for all and a new PATH FORWARD.

Article written by:

Shagun Bindlish 200x200

Shagun Bindlish MD FACP, DABOM ACLM

Shagun Bindlish MD FACP, DABOM ACLM is a Diabetologist/Diplomat in Obesity Medicine(ABOM) and Lifestyle (ACLM) medicine. She is a Chair of the Thought leadership committee and a Board member of the American Diabetes Association(ADA). She is a speaker at the University at Sea (CME at Cruise) and adjunct faculty at Touro University. Dr. Bindlish is a writer and her work has been published in Health Care Magazine in India and DiaBeters Magazine in Africa. She has also written multiple blog posts for the obesity medicine association. To bring awareness, she has also started her own YouTube channel DiaBesity. Dr. Bindlish strongly believes in conquering the disease with "Dedication, Action, and spreading Awareness" to both patients and healthcare professionals.

Raghuveer Vedala Headshot 200x200

Raghuveer Vedala, MD, FAAFP, DABOM

Raghuveer Vedala, MD, FAAFP, Dipl. ABOM, is a board-certified family medicine and obesity medicine physician currently at Norman Regionals Primary Care South OKC clinic.

His passions include Medical Education, Primary Care, Weight Management, and Health Promotion and Policy

His commitment to obesity medicine comes from personal and family struggles with obesity, guiding his holistic approach that connects obesity to health issues, including mental health. He promotes wellness through lifestyle changes, emphasizing exercise, healthy eating, and supportive relationships in addition to traditional metric goals.

In his free time, Dr. Vedala enjoys traveling with his wife, being a foodie, playing with his dogs, ballroom and Bollywood dancing, karaoke and keeping up with personal fitness.