Obesity Action Coalition & Obesity PPM Announce New Online Educational Initiative
by James Zervios, OAC Director of Communications

To view a PDF version of this article, click here.

“Mississippi considers restaurant ban for those affected by obesity,” CBS News.

“Health Reform Idea: Put down the Doughnut,” MSNBC.com.

From the media to healthcare to the general public, there are often misconceptions regarding obesity. Unfortunately, these misconceptions lead to oversimplifications of the complexity of obesity, its impact and its severity. In an effort to combat misconceptions surrounding obesity and provide the public with a better understanding of it, the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC) and Obesity PPM, an educational consulting firm, have joined together to launch a FREE online educational initiative in the form of a 14-part webinar series, focusing on the complexities of obesity, that will run through 2013.

Why is Obesity Complicated?
We all can probably agree that in its simplest form, obesity is treated through weight-loss; however, there seems to be more to that than meets the eye. “Eat less and exercise more.” “Cut sugar from your diet.” “Get at least eight hours of sleep.” You have probably heard these statements at some point in your life. In fact, you have probably heard them your whole life. Why is that? On the surface, they seem to make sense – kind of. You take in less calories and expend more through exercise. You cut out all sugars from your diet. You make sure you get enough rest. This “should” cause weight-loss, correct? The simple answer – it is complicated.

Frankly, the more we learn about obesity, the more we realize that we still have a lot to learn. Despite the constant repetition of the above statements, the obesity epidemic continues to rise in the United States, with more than 78 million adults affected by obesity and 13 million children affected by childhood obesity. While it may make sense on the surface that diet and exercise contribute to obesity, we also know that there are a lot of other things that play a role as well.

Furthering the complexity of obesity, there are debates taking place every day among healthcare leaders about possible answers to obesity. These answers include medical treatments, nutritional guidelines, government policies and more. There is just one major issue with trying to find an answer to obesity – we do not have a common definition of the problem. Without a definition that everyone can easily understand, we will struggle to agree on the big-picture answers that will help combat obesity.

Obesity – It’s Not that Simple after All
The OAC and Obesity PPM’s free online educational webinar series will bring clarity and understanding to the disease of obesity. Based on Obesity PPM’s Twelve Pillars model®, the webinar series will evaluate obesity from six highly-individualized factors affecting a person’s struggle with obesity and six categories of environmental influences. Let’s take a closer look at these two components.

Individual Factors
There are six individual factors impacting obesity:

  • cognition
  • addiction
  • nutrition
  • endocrinology and metabolism
  • exercise and activity level
  • sleep, stress and immunity

Population Level Factors
There are six categories of environmental influences:

  • education system and parenting
  • workplace and business culture
  • community and lifestyle planning
  • food policy, production and delivery
  • healthcare policy and delivery
  • financial instruments and funding

In order for us to find answers to obesity, we must be able to define all of the variables influencing the epidemic. The cold hard fact is that obesity is not one-dimensional. There is no “one size fits all” approach to combating this disease. By gaining a better understanding of influencers such as addiction, nutrition, workplace culture, food policy and others, we can finally begin to define the problem of obesity, address misconceptions surrounding it and help raise awareness of the fact that there is nothing simple about obesity.

 Educational Initiative Details
This free educational initiative will provide education in the form of:

  • Live, engaging webinars featuring presentations by industry-leading subject-matter experts, and in some cases panels of experts, where participants can engage with interactive question and answer sessions and contribute their thoughts and opinions throughout the event by answering poll and survey questions
  • Recorded events distributed via online streaming video
  • Audio-recordings distributed in the form of a podcast series available for free through iTunes
  • The creation and support of online social media communities on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin to enable ongoing conversation on the topic of each webinar
  • A series of print and online articles in Your Weight Matters Magazine offering valuable information about the many factors contributing to obesity

The first webinar, titled “Introduction to the Complexity of Obesity” took place on February 7 and featured OAC President and CEO, Joe Nadglowski and Obesity PPM CEO, Heather L. Flannery. This webinar provided an introductory look at the many complexities of obesity. To download an audio and video version of the first webinar, please click here.

Mark Your Calendar!
Join us as we tackle each of the Individual and Population Level factors impacting obesity. Webinars will be hosted by leaders from various healthcare fields, such as addiction, weight bias, nutrition and more. Below, please find a schedule for the webinar series:

  • May 24, 2012 — Obesity and Healthcare Policy
  • July 19, 2012 — Obesity: Endocrinology and Metabolism
  • September 13, 2012 — Obesity: Community and Lifestyle Planning
  • November 8, 2012 — Obesity and Cognition
  • January 3, 2013 — Obesity: Education System and Parenting
  • February 28, 2013 — Obesity and Nutrition
  • April 25, 2013 — Obesity: Workplace and Business Culture
  • June 20, 2013 — Obesity: Sleep, Stress and Immunity
  • August 15, 2013 — Obesity: Financial Instruments and Funding
  • October 10, 2013 — Obesity: Exercise and Activity Level
  • December 5, 2013 — Obesity: Food Policy, Production and Delivery (CANCELED)

All events in the series will occur from 8 to 9 pm EST. For more information, please click here.

Both the OAC and Obesity PPM believe that a key element driving the bias and stigma individuals affected by obesity face is the tendency to over-simplify obesity. By delivering these free educational webinars, the OAC and Obesity PPM will advance their shared mission to reduce weight bias, social stigma and discrimination.

About Obesity PPM:
Obesity PPM is a consultancy dedicated to the reversal of the obesity epidemic. Obesity PPM’s services and solutions address the needs of bariatric surgery and medical weight-loss programs, medical device and pharmaceutical companies, employers, carriers, and all levels of government in their work to develop and implement effective obesity prevention and treatment strategies. To learn more about Obesity PPM, visit ObesityPPM.com, join their Facebook.com/ObesityPPMLLC page and follow them on Twitter @ObesityPPM.

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