An opportunity to improve the health and economic wellbeing of all people.
Metabesity is the constellation of major chronic diseases—cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes, obesity, cancer, and the aging process itself. All these conditions share metabolic root causes, which present opportunities for preventing or reducing the risks of these conditions collectively. The word Metabesity was coined to engage and encourage broad-based collaboration across multiple scientific disciplines, medical specialties, government, industry, educational organizations, and other stakeholders.
Growing scientific evidence convincingly demonstrates that this constellation of age-related diseases and the aging process itself can be resisted. Slowing the aging process and the onset of chronic diseases are more than theoretical aspirations. Some already approved drugs for treating individual diseases are nearing clinical trials designed to ask if the occurrence of multiple diseases can be reduced. The objective of these trials is to demonstrate that healthspan—the period of life free of these chronic diseases—can be extended.
New drugs are also underdevelopment for increasing healthspan. Drugs, however, are among many other promising healthspan solutions. Nutrition and educational interventions, nutritional products, medical devices, and digital technologies are more immediately available and just as important as pharmacologic approaches.
A closely related term, healthy longevity, reflects the understanding that extending lifespan itself is unattractive if the interval of health and wellbeing is not substantially increased. Targeting Metabesity aims to increase healthspan and healthy longevity by applying a wide range of solutions, disciplines, and stakeholders on behalf of all people, but especially younger people who have the most to gain.
Though the health, social, and economic benefits of increasing healthspan are enormous, so too are the challenges that must be overcome:
- Shifting the emphasis from isolated disease management to prevention of multiple diseases—in the home, the clinic, and in every organization.
- Breaking down the silos of diverse disciplines so that solutions will be advanced rapidly
- Incentivizing investment in developing Metabesity solutions and obtaining the necessary evidence to support their widespread and long-term use.
- Developing clear regulatory and commercial pathways forgetting products from the lab to people who need them.
- Educating all—from school children to legislators—about what individuals and society can do to prevent chronic diseases and the disabilities of aging.
The Targeting Metabesity conference series is an example of a catalyzing effort to breakdown silos and bring together a highly diverse assortment of experts and stakeholders to share their findings, challenges, and proposals. Since its first meeting in London in 2017 and subsequent annual meetings, the Conference has included over 120 leading experts from multiple fields of science and medicine, government research institutions, regulation, public policy, ethics, healthcare reimbursement; pharmaceutical, nutritional, and digital technology companies; capital markets, patient advocacy, and members of Congress and Parliament. The Conference serves as an ongoing call to action aimed at taking achievable, practical steps in the moonshot project of preventing chronic disease and disabilities of aging.
London, England 2017: http://metabesity17.com
Washington, DC, USA 2019: http://www.metabesity2019.com
Virtual 2020: http://www.metabesity2020.com
Upcoming 2021: https://metabesity2021.org