Providing a common language for obesity: The EASO obesity taxonomy

Providing a common language for obesity: The EASO obesity taxonomy

Words matter and accurate framing and consistent terminology use is vital for ensuring accurate diagnosis, effective treatment, consistent research, clear communication, informed policy-making, and overall improved patient outcomes. It aligns the efforts of stakeholders towards a common goal, leading to a more coordinated and effective approach to managing obesity appropriately (as an NCD - a chronic relapsing disease).

The EASO obesity taxonomy consists of six themes: Definition of obesity; Causes, onset and progression factors, Obesity prevention, Screening and early diagnosis; Treatment and management; and Obesity consequences. The themes are subdivided into concepts, with each concept further broken down into a definition, scope, and context layer.

The EASO taxonomy gives us a common language and provides a standardised and consistent framework for defining and classifying obesity. This ensures that all stakeholders, including healthcare providers, researchers, and policymakers, use the same language and criteria, reducing misunderstandings and inconsistencies in diagnosis and treatment. This will improve patient care.

This framing will help in the accurate diagnosis of obesity and its related comorbidities. By understanding the different categories and characteristics of obesity, healthcare practitioners can develop more targeted and effective obesity management plans. This personalised approach can improve patient outcomes by addressing the specific needs of different patient groups.

We anticipate that when implemented the taxonomy will facilitate better communication between health practitioners, patients, and other stakeholders. It can enable clearer explanations of the disease, its progression, and management options to patients.

The taxonomy will also help guide the research agenda and will be important for designing studies, collecting data, and interpreting results.

As the conclusion of the abstract states:

The taxonomy provides a contemporary evidence-based language about obesity that aligns with language used for policy-prioritised NCDs. The taxonomy is useful for education, advocacy, and communication and can be used by policymakers, healthcare professionals, people living with obesity, researchers, and health system users.

Access providing a common language for obesity: the European Association for the Study of Obesity obesity taxonomy here and share it widely:

Author and EASO president – elect Dr Jennifer Baker said: I’m proud to have worked with multi-disciplinary stakeholders in the creation of this taxonomy of obesity. We have developed an accessible and scientifically accurate set of definitions that will help ensure clear communication about different aspects of obesity. I think it will be incredibly useful all the way from policy to facilitating informed conversations between health care professionals and patients.”