The 6th Central European Congress on Obesity (CECON 2017) was held October 5 to October 7, 2017, in Bratislava, Slovakia. I was pleased to represent the EASO Patient Council at the meeting and delivered a talk on using the Internet to help with weight loss and weigh maintenance.
The topics covered at the meeting in Bratislava were interesting and wide-ranging. EASO President Professor Hermann Toplak spoke about work of EASO in central Europe and across the continent. Following presentations and some discussion about obesity in Central Europe, there were expert presentations from various fields.
A very interesting session focused on trends in bariatric surgery. There was interest in treatment of diabetes – including physical activity in management of type 2 diabetes, the panel discussion included focus on diabetes prevention and it appears that there is more interesting research in the pipeline.
As obesity is a risk factor for several co-morbidities, sessions were also dedicated to this theme.
One key focus of the Bratislava Congress was childhood obesity, which is a rising challenge in Central Europe and around the continent. Several child obesity prevention programmes were presented, including the GYERE programme in Hungary, and Maria Luger’s work in Austria, several school based initiatives in Slovakia and the Childhood Obesity Surveillance Initiative (COSI) in the Czech Republic.
The final session of the congress was dedicated to nutrition and cognitive behavioural therapy in obesity treatment. That is the topic our Patient Council Healthy Body and Mind project team is focusing on and was of particular interest.
The 6th CECON presented important several topics including childhood obesity, using education in prevention of obesity and of treatment of obesity co-morbidities. There is a lot of work ahead. In my view, we should emphasise above all our work supporting healthy lifestyle for young people and preventing obesity among children. It is crucial that we work with children and families to tackle the ongoing obesity epidemic.