Leading the Charge to Address Obesity in Europe: A Conversation with New EASO President Volkan Yumuk, MD

Leading the Charge to Address Obesity in Europe: A Conversation with New EASO President Volkan Yumuk, MD

Leading the Charge to Address Obesity in Europe: A Conversation with New EASO President Volkan Yumuk, MD

Thanks for attending ECO 2024 – from new EASO President Volkan Yumuk, Istanbul University-Cerrahpaşa, Cerrahpaşa Medical Faculty, Turkey

Q – Congratulations on becoming the new EASO President Volkan. How does it feel?

Thank you very much. It’s a significant honour to become the new EASO president. As an endocrinologist who’s dedicated his career to improving metabolic health, leading EASO during this period in addressing obesity in Europe is a privilege. Obesity is a chronic, multifactorial relapsing disease, and I’m eager to work across the society and with all of our stakeholders to improve obesity management and support evidence based prevention strategies.

Q- You have a long history with EASO and have watched as the society has grown – and the obesity epidemic along with it. What have been the biggest contributors to obesity in the past 3 decades?

Yes indeed. I’ve been working within the society for 13 years, have worked with 6 presidents and have been involved in several initiatives covering obesity prevention and management, education for HCPs and people with obesity, and have engaged in collaboration with numerous stakeholders.

EASO champion a nuanced understanding of this chronic multifactorial disease. Environmental factors, including our ever-increasing exposure to endocrine disruptors, the obesogenic environment in which we all live, inequalities in access to healthy food, inappropriate marketing of unhealthy food and beverages to children, inequitable access to obesity care, sedentary lifestyles and behaviours undoubtedly play a role.

Nonetheless, we can’t overlook the strong biological basis of obesity. Genetics and hormonal imbalances significantly influence an individual’s susceptibility to obesity.

Q- Your own research interests lie in prevention of obesity and type 2 diabetes – are you presenting any research of your own this year?

While I won’t be presenting new data this year as I have for previous ECOs, my focus as President is to elevate the conversation around recognising and managing obesity as a chronic disease with a strong biological component. The research project I am working on at the moment  is related to obesity and the gut microbiome and personalised  nutrition.

Q: How does it feel to be taking the Presidency at EASO just as we hold one our biggest ever ECOs in Venice?

Venice is a magnificent city. I am very happy to be taking over the presidency in Venice, the hometown of one of my dearest friends, Luca Busetto in front of the enchanting winged lions. To begin my presidency during such a prestigious conference is truly inspiring.

Q: Next year it is Malaga – would you like to see us also returning to a city in Turkey sometime soon?

Absolutely. As a fitting follow-on to congresses hosted in magnificent  cities like Venice and Malaga, we will host ECO2026  in Istanbul, my hometown and a fantastic bridge between cultures.  Our brand new congress centre is fully equipped for a major congress like ECO and I suspect we may have record – breaking delegate numbers!

Thanks Volkan and we wish you a happy and successful presidency!