A group of doctors are organizing to better treat obesity

This is how the Association of Obesity Physicians of Eastern Canada was born. Formed Thursday night at university hospital Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont, it currently brings together family doctors, endocrinologists, bariatric surgeons and even nurse practitioners practicing in New Brunswick and Quebec.

While there are already organizations educating about obesity, these doctors wanted to start a group on a smaller scale.

I think it’s important that we meet in a sub-group because we have different realities of practice, and that will allow us to discuss in a smaller group before meeting in the big national conventions.says Séverine Mazur, family doctor specializing in obesity in Quebec and designated spokesperson for the group.

Obesity, the source of many ailments

There are many barriers in the management of this chronic disease. The lack of family physicians specializing in the field and the accessibility to the various treatments available, particularly medication, are cited as examples by the professionals we met.

A man has his measurements taken.

In 2018, the Atlantic provinces had the highest proportion of obese people, according to Statistics Canada.

Photo: iStock

We face the daily complications of obesity. It occupies almost all of our practice. As a family doctor, we see patients with hypertension, diabetes several times a day, observes Nadine Roy, a family physician who also treats patients at the CHU-Dumont Bariatric Clinic.

And that’s not counting the list in orthopedics that continues to grow. The majority of patients who have knee replacement surgery are overweight, she points out.

We would really benefit from treating obesity to prevent many of these complications. »

A quote from Dr. Nadine Roy, family physician specializing in obesity

While physical activity and diet are part of the solution, they alone are not enough to cure the disease.

Expand accessibility to certain medications

Very often, the addition of a pharmacological treatment is essential for patients to succeed in preserving their weight loss.

Drugs used to treat depression or diabetes have proven effective in treating obese people. However, most insurance plans do not reimburse these drugs, although some are indicated for obesity.

We have to justify that it is a disease, then sometimes they answer us that no, it is not a disease, whereas it can help people with a loss [de poids] and a holdargues Dr. Séverine Mazur, who last year founded a clinic designed to treat this disease. All this needs to change a bitshe adds.

Bariatric surgery – which involves reducing the size of the stomach or sometimes even bypassing it – is reimbursed by provincial insurance authorities. However, it is an invasive procedure that is often offered as a last resort.

In the province, patients can wait up to five years before going under the knife.

Train physicians in obesity management

On Friday, about ten of them were at the New Brunswick Center for Precision Medicine in Moncton, to take training on obesity management.

At university hospital-Dumont, the training was provided by two bariatric surgeons, Dr. Sylvain Beausoleil and Dr. Christelle Thériault, as well as Dr. Nadine Roy.

The New Brunswick Center for Precision Medicine building.

The New Brunswick Center for Precision Medicine is adjacent to the Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Maya Chebl

The cities of Moncton and Edmonton are the first in the world to offer this unusual program concocted by an international organization, the Academy specializing in science and continuing education in the field of diabetes and obesity.

The initiative will also travel to other countries, such as Spain and Brazil.

As Dr. Roy explains, the objective of this five-day training is to learn how to have a conversation with a patient without feeling judged, motivate him to adopt healthy lifestyle habits and work with a multidisciplinary team for the supported.

At present, most physicians will manage complications without addressing obesity because they lack the training and resources to do soshe laments.

In Quebec, in the clinic directed by Dr. Séverine Mazur, several disciplines come together. It includes, among others, a psychologist, a dietitian and a kinesiologist.

My vision is for there to be a clinic like that in every clinic in Quebec. »

A quote from Dr. Séverine Mazur, family physician specializing in obesity

In New Brunswick, such a clinic does not exist. Dr. Christelle Thériault would like training on obesity to be recognized by the College of Family Physicians of Canada, in the same way as sports medicine.


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