Today’s blog post has been written by Michele Satanove. 

This past May I had the privilege of attending the 8th Canadian Obesity Summit as one of ten patient partners. From our arrival until our departure we were made welcome and shown warm appreciation for our sharing of stories and perspectives – a refreshing and validating experience compared to what people living with obesity usually encounter!

A highlight of the summit for me was participating in the Obesity Research Training sessions, where we mixed with some of the brightest and best new and upcoming obesity researchers. The excellent presentations covered the whole gamut of obesity topics, and the group discussions were stimulating and rewarding. The future of obesity research looks bright!

The conference sessions I attended were all of interest to me, deepening my understanding of obesity and giving me much appreciation for the work researchers are doing in the field. But what was perhaps even more valuable were the random encounters with other attendees outside of sessions and the opportunity to share ideas and experiences with people who understand the complexity of obesity.

We know that the “eat less, move more” paradigm of treating obesity is not only outdated but harmful, yet it’s ingrained in our culture, and many health care professionals are still promoting it. The people who attended this summit are leading the charge towards more effective and compassionate care for those of us living with obesity, and I’d like to see many more join their ranks.

This summit made clear that we who live in larger bodies do have allies who respect us and are working hard to improve our lives and, ultimately, the health of society in general. Bravo to Obesity Canada for setting the stage for a constructive and empowering exchange of information and ideas!

Photo Credit: Janice Forcythe – taken at the Canadian Obesity Summit in Whistler, May 2023