MEETinLEEDS celebrates success after the UK Congress on Obesity 2019

This month, we’re wrapping up the UK Congress on Obesity (UKCO), the Association for the Study of Obesity’s (ASO) annual flagship meeting. Attracting over 200 attendees from all over the country and the world, the conference gave leading researchers, clinicians and patient organisations a platform to share their recent findings, collaborate with like-minded attendees and pave the way for future research and new schools of thought.

This year the conference, which took place from Thursday 12th to Friday 13th September at the University of Leeds, was centred on the theme of ‘future thinking and innovation in obesity,’ offering delegates the opportunity to learn, network and collaborate on projects of scientific and clinical importance in the field. The event was hosted in the Michael Sadler Building at the University of Leeds, which facilitated the lecture and breakout sessions, and then the Rupert Beckett lecture theatre provided the space for the main lecture room with smaller breakout rooms within. The main hub for the event was the centrally located University House, which hosted the exhibition, poster sessions, lunches, breaks and welcome receptions.

The conference was kick started by an interactive public ‘show and tell’ event where six experts were asked to discuss two objects or entities that they felt contributed to obesity (positively and negatively). An audience of over 70 people then voted on who they felt gave the most persuasive argument. The Dean of the School of Medicine at The University of Leeds, Professor Mark Kearney, opened the scientific meeting the following day, which was followed by a plenary lecture by Professor Giles Yeo from the television show ‘Trust Me, I’m a Doctor’. Topics included weight management, genes and their links to obesity, public health, appetite regulation and clinical advances in obesity management. Outside of the sessions, there was plenty of opportunity to network within and outside of the University, and many delegates enjoyed a dinner at The Tetley restaurant.

Harriet Boatwright, Sales and Marketing Manager at MEETinLEEDS, commented: “We were delighted to have had the opportunity to host the UKCO conference for the first time this year – after years of welcoming them here for their regional workshops. Not only is it excellent to host conferences which fit so well with our academic strengths within the city, it is great to host conferences which have collaboration and partnerships at their core.”

Maria Bryant, Associate Professor and Chair of the 2019 UKCO commented: “We are thrilled with how well the 2019 conference went! Leeds was the perfect location for this year’s event, as the city is a real hub for high-level research into obesity – both at the University of Leeds and Leeds Beckett university, with exciting research and leading researchers based here. We often host regional workshops in Leeds, and as such know how easy the city is to travel to, and how excellent the facilities are, so it was a natural choice for us, and we’re very grateful to the MEETinLEEDs team for their attentive assistance in making this event a success, particularly for their meticulously planned catering, which was both nutritious and delicious.

This year’s event was really about collaboration and partnership, and there was a great deal of future thinking present. We know that the event will leave a lasting legacy with the attending delegates, primarily about the need for partnership and the requirement to understand the complexity of obesity as a chronic condition; with a shift away from it being driven purely by individual choice, and increasing our knowledge of the biological, psychological and environmental influences of obesity.”