Obesity prevention strategies: could food or soda taxes improve health?

Evidence shows that one of the main causes for rising obesity rates is
excessive consumption of sugar, which is due in large part to the high sugar content of most soda and juice drinks and junk foods. Worryingly, UK and global populations are consuming increasing amounts of sugary drinks and junk foods (high in salt, sugar and saturated fats). However, there is raised public awareness, and parents in particular want something to be done to curb the alarming rise in
childhood obesity.

Health behaviour change: do we know what works and is this being implemented in Scotland?

In Scotland in recent years smoking, poor diet and excess alcohol have caused major public health problems. Knowledge of what is effective in the field of health behaviour change is therefore essential in achieving improvements in health. This symposium was convened with the purpose of ensuring that public health policy is informed by the best available evidence on effective interventions. As behaviour is complex, achieving change can be difficult and it is essential that interventions are properly planned, implemented and evaluated.

New treatments for type 2 diabetes

Controlling blood glucose in type 2 diabetes remains challenging. All existing drugs have significant limitations and side effects, with some causing weight gain and thereby exacerbating the condition. This short review looks at new groups of drugs on the market and under development, and discusses their potential in the management of type 2 diabetes.

Keywords DPP-IV inhibitors, hypoglycaemia, incretin mimetics, obesity, thiazolidinediones, type 2 diabetes, weight loss drugs

The future of genetics in everyday medicine

Genetics is a developing field that increasingly influences medical practice in a large number of specialties. This symposium highlighted how current research is providing insights into the genetic causes of disease, leading to a deeper understanding of the pathophysiology and identification of potential novel treatment strategies. We were provided with an overview of developments in monogenic conditions such as Marfan’s syndrome and Duchenne muscular dystrophy and complex traits such as atopic dermatitis.

The role of bariatric surgery in the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus

Medical treatments for patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus and class II and above obesity (body mass index greater than 35 kg/m2) are currently limited to treatment of diabetes and prevention of its vascular complications. Bariatric surgery is by far the most effective treatment not only for weight loss, but also for improvement or remission of diabetes. This editorial examines the current evidence for the impact of bariatric surgery on weight loss and type 2 diabetes.