The International Federation for the Surgery of Obesity and Metabolic Disorders first met in 1996 in Stockholm, Sweden and has grown from 265 attendees to the 2,000 that are expected to attend the conference at the Long Beach, CA Convention Center.
There are sobering new statistics published by the World Health Organization. About 1.6 billion adults were overweight and 400 million were obese according to a 2005 WHO report and the organization projects that 2.3 billion will be overweight and more than 700 million will be obese by 2015.
The local newspaper, the Long Beach Press-Telegram, spoke with the event's host, Dr. Mal Fobi, the renowned bariatric surgeon and Medical Director of Long Beach's St. Mary Medical Center for Surgical Treatment of Obesity. Fobi explained the purpose of the gathering. "This is something we started to bring doctors from all over the world to share their experiences," Fobi said. "That is something we do in medicine in different fields so you see what you learn from each other."
Data Has Shown 80% of Type 2 diabetes Patients Are Helped by Weight-Loss Surgery.
Fobi is known around the world as the developer of a surgical procedure called the The Fobi Pouch, a version of gastric bypass which is now being used around the world. The Press-Telegram identified Fobi by his nickname in the entertainment community, "Weight-Loss Surgeon to the Stars" for his work with, among others, American Idol host Randy Jackson, singers Jennifer Holliday and Etta James.
The most welcome of results from use of the weight-loss procedures is the overwhelming success of the treatment of Type 2 diabetes. The bariatric surgical community has found, over the years, that in performing weight-loss surgery they unknowingly stumbled onto a way to treat up to 80% of patients who suffer from the disease.
"When we started doing this surgery, we were doing it for weight loss," Dr. Fobi said. "We now find out that we can treat 80 percent of patients with Type 2 diabetes with surgery. Now, we look at the different surgeries and see which is the best for treating Type 2 diabetes."
Lap band surgery will be a prime subject at the conference. Dr. Fobi said that data from around the world will be presented regarding the efficacy of the operation for all obese patients rather than those whose weight is less than 100 pounds in excess of an optimum weight.
The conference kicked off with a "Walk From Obesity", designed to raise awareness about obesity as a serious health issue and about the consequences and treatments.