S03 -​​ 
Overview of the 2020 Obesity Guidelines: Considerations and Consequences for Psychiatry​​ 
Friday, 23 October​​ 

13:30 – 16:45 (3 hrs plus 15 min break
Valerie Taylor*, MD, PhD, FRCPC; Sanjeev Sockalingam,​​ 
MD, MHPE, FRCPC, FCPA; Margaret Hahn, MD, PhD, FRCPC; Raed Hawa, MD, FRCPC, DABPN​​ 


CanMEDS Roles:​​ 

  • Medical Expert​​ 

  • Scholar​​ 

  • Health Advocate​​ 

At the end of this session, participants will be able to:​​ 1) Describe the relation between obesity and mental illness; 2) Recommend pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments for obesity in the context of mental illness; and 3) Identify and manage psychosocial complications and psychiatric medications pre- and post-bariatric surgery.​​ 

Much like trying to untangle the etiology of obesity, trying to understand the association between weight gain and mental illness is currently beyond our ability. We are aware of vulnerabilities that increase risk, both of weight gain in those with mental illness and, conversely, mental health issues in those with weight issues. Similarly, we understand that the end result is such that the presence of one comorbidity can impact the other. We also know that unconscious bias, a factor that those with weight issues and mental illness often face, is compounded when the conditions co-occur and can be especially damaging in medical settings. This has profound effects on patient care, medical outcomes, and from a broader systems perspective, on health-care costs and access to care. With this in mind, we developed the mental health section of the 2020 Canadian Obesity Guidelines. These evidenced-based recommendations are meant to serve as a guideline to insure health-care practitioners, including psychiatrists, are evidence-informed, and are able to provide the best care to an often complicated and marginalized patient group.

The presenters will speak on the prevalence of psychiatric illness in obesity and mechanisms of weight gain, pharmacological management of obesity in severe mental illness, issues related to bariatric surgery, as well as binge-eating disorder and psychotherapeutic treatment options. Key recommendations from the 2020 Canadian Obesity Guidelines will be shared and their application will be illustrated through case discussions.


  • Hawkins M, Leung SE, Lee A, et al. Psychiatric medication use and weight outcomes one year after bariatric surgery. Psychosomatics 2019;61:56–63.

  • Taylor VH, McIntyre RS, Remington G, et al. Beyond pharmacotherapy: understanding the links between obesity and chronic mental illness. Can J Psychiatry 2012;57(1):5–12.


/ Virtual Conference 2020