WEDNESDAY 4 MAY, 0830-1230H, ROOM 0.5
Canada’s Adult Obesity Management Clinical Practice Guidelines have put the focus firmly on the patient and their health, rather than their weight.
Ireland and Chile are two countries who are now looking to adapt these Canadian guidelines into their own clinical practice, and EASO has also, in the last few weeks, adopted the Canadian guidelines and stated they will form a key part of the association’s review of its own guidelines.
Here some of those involved talk about the success of the Canadian Guidelines. EASO Consultant Ximena Ramos Salas has been following the evolution of this project.
She explains that, since 2005, Obesity Canada has been working to unite the research, healthcare professional and patient communities to improve access to obesity prevention and management in Canada. “We have a long tradition of working collaboratively across health and social disciplines and engaging in patient-centred research, education, and advocacy activities,” says Ximena. “One of the key areas that Obesity Canada has been a leader in is weight bias and stigma research, education and advocacy. Since 2008, OC recognized that weight bias and stigma was a fundamental barrier to increasing and improving obesity research, education, and policy. We strategically prioritized weight bias and stigma and used this lens in every aspect of our work, including research, education, and policy advocacy.”
A key change in the updated Canadian clinical practice guidelines is the significant focus on patient-centred care and the reduction of weight bias and stigma in healthcare. Using these lenses to guide the development of the guidelines was critical. “For example, we used a patient and weight bias lens to guide the development of the research questions and to develop the final recommendations. In the obesity field, this was the first time that these two issues were integrated in a guideline development process in a meaningful way. I believe this is one of the reasons why Canada is seen as being far ahead in terms of creating clinical practice guidelines,” she says.
Countries like Ireland and Chile are adapting these CPGs, and now they have the endorsement of EASO. Will other countries follow their lead, or are some likely to develop their own similar guidelines? Ximena believes the guidelines can be a tool to drive change in clinical practice and policy. “But for this change to happen, we need to implement the guidelines. This is why Obesity Canada is focusing heavily on raising awareness, adoption and implementation of the guidelines nationally and internationally,” she says.
“The more healthcare professionals that are using evidence-based and patient-centred guidelines, the more patients that will benefit from improved obesity care. Ultimately, our common goal is to improve the lives of people living with obesity and the guidelines are seen as a tool to help us do that. Based on the learnings from this pilot project in Chile and Ireland, we have found that it is feasible and possible to use the Canadian guidelines in other countries. That was the main objective of the pilot project. Now that the pilot project is almost finalized, we are hoping that other countries can use the process, materials, and resources that we developed through this pilot project to adapt the guidelines in their country.”
Brad Hussey and Nicole Pearce of Obesity Canada are also in Maastricht for this symposium. Brad explains the creation of the guidelines: “I think one of Obesity Canada’s assets is that we are a small team, and we’ve worked to build an obesity ecosystem in the country for 15 years. Canada doesn’t have a huge population, and so the professional community is relatively small. That means we can work quickly and efficiently to get through what amounted to a massive undertaking — more than a half million papers were assessed by our authors — and produce an innovative knowledge base.”
Nicole adds: “The timing was right — over the past 10 or so years research has really changed our understanding of the disease. That, coupled with an expanding treatment pipeline, kind of lit a fire for us that new CPGs were needed. Implementation is a long game, and while we drew a lot of attention with the CPG release, in many ways our work has just begun. We’ve had good traction getting in front of policy makers so far, and that’s where we will focus our efforts going forward.”
Brad concludes: “I think other countries see that we did some heavy lifting, creating the foundation of a knowledge base that will exist as a living document, and that that can accelerate the development of their own guidelines. And the more other countries adapt the CPGs, the more ammunition we have to convince Canadian policy makers that we need a national obesity framework that serves patients, and that the CPGs can be the start of that.”
Come and join us for the main session this morning!