Obesity has only recently been recognised as a disease as opposed to a behavioural/lifestyle issue.

Pharma companies, especially the main players in the obesity market, Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly, have been investing in and developing revolutionary obesity drugs that can achieve unmatched weight loss results and are a great opportunity for obesity patients.

However, according to several key opinion leaders (KOLs) interviewed by GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, the obesity space requires a much greater revolution.

Obesity is a chronic metabolic disease characterised by excess weight – it is diagnosed with a body mass index (BMI) over 30kg/m² – and is associated with the development of many other issues, such as Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, gastrointestinal disorders, respiratory problems, muscular disorders, and psychological issues.

Obesity was previously considered a lifestyle choice to be corrected with diet and exercise. In 2013, the American Medical Association voted to recognise obesity as a disease needing treatment and prevention efforts.

However, the diagnostic and management tools for obesity need to be updated and patients are not receiving the appropriate support from health authorities and insurance companies.

How well do you really know your competitors?

Access the most comprehensive Company Profiles on the market, powered by GlobalData. Save hours of research. Gain competitive edge.

Company Profile – free sample

Thank you!

Your download email will arrive shortly

Not ready to buy yet? Download a free sample

We are confident about the unique quality of our Company Profiles. However, we want you to make the most beneficial decision for your business, so we offer a free sample that you can download by submitting the below form

By GlobalData

Speaking to GlobalData, KOLs expressed their concern about the need for clearer guidelines for obesity management and a more structured healthcare system.

One KOL stated: “Obesity has been recognised like a true disease only very recently. We don’t have any practical guidance on how to implement that yet in our daily practice. We don’t have a strong organisation with obesity centres like we do with Type 2 diabetes centres, in my country.”

According to the same KOL, confusion around obesity management is also caused by the lack of a specific medical staff for obesity patients: “Who is the specialist for obesity patients? The endocrinologist? The internal medicine specialist? The primary physician? The specialist in medical nutrition? And which are the non-medical professions that should be entitled of such a task? Nutritionists? Dieticians?”

This is a call for national healthcare authorities to provide more structured guidelines on obesity management and treatment paradigms.

According to a high-prescribers survey conducted by GlobalData, another issue in obesity management is the lack of accurate diagnostic methods, as BMI is not considered to be accurate in many cases.

BMI is calculated considering only the patient’s height and weight, and does not take into consideration the patient’s body composition.

A patient with a healthy-range BMI might have a very high percentage of fat tissue, and in that case they would be more unhealthy than a bodybuilder, for example, who has a higher BMI but whose body composition is mostly lean muscle mass.

There are other methods used to calculate body composition, for instance, bioelectrical impedance analysis and bone density scanning, and some physicians tend to use them in combination with BMI, but according to GlobalData’s high-prescribers survey, there is a need for more accurate and unified diagnostic criteria and methods for diagnosing obesity.