COVID-19 had a significant impact on ASO events, including the cancellation of the ASO major flagship Congress (UKCO2021).
However, ASO decided in 2021 to host a member only 2-day online event called Hot Topics. Sessions were focused discussions on: (1) The implications of defining obesity as a disease; and (2) Post-pandemic priorities for prevention and treatment of obesity.
The event was a great success and feedback from ASO members was excellent. The ASO was able to attract a number of well-respected speakers from across the UK, including Professor Chris Whitty. Every session included a patient representative and there were question and answer panel sessions facilitated by Dr Giles Yeo and Professor Linda Bauld. In the new year, the ASO are hoping to publish reports of the Hot Topics events. To coincide with Hot Topics, ASO also hosted a workshop for its Early Career Researchers.
During the last year ASO have continued to host monthly webinars on a wide range of topics with presenters from across the world. The webinars have been extremely popular and have attracted UK and international registrations. The ASO have used these webinars as an opportunity to extend its reach and to build partnerships and relationships, including those with ASO regional networks, and other organisations including EASO and the British Dietetic Association. Since June 2020, ASO has hosted 18 webinars on a range of topics and recordings are available on the ASO website.
The ASO were also successful this year in attracting funding to provide two research grants related to the delivery of weight management interventions. The ASO are looking forward to the successful applicants sharing their work with members at the ASO UKCO2022 to be held in Lancaster in September 2022.
Over the year ASO trustees have been actively involved in high level discussions with policy makers at the House of Commons and the provision of responses to consultations with NICE including the proposed use of Saxenda to treat Obesity.
The ASO were also very pleased to announce the award of an Honorary Fellowship to Professor Jason Halford (University of Leeds), the current President of EASO and former chair of ASO. The award was made to Professor Halford in recognition of his significant contribution to the field of obesity research and the activities of the ASO.