OAC’s 2015 Year in Review

The year 2015 was one filled with exciting work and progress for the OAC. Throughout the year, we were able to continue our mission of education, advocacy and support in many ways, such as providing the RIGHT education to the public, advocating for access to obesity care and treatment and providing support to our more than 50,000 members.

January

OAC Welcomes New National Board Members, Joins Together for Annual Board Retreat

2015 started off with the introduction of a new Vice Chairman of the National Board of Directors, and a new board member.  Amber Huett-Garcia, MPA, BS, a longtime OAC member and has served on the OAC National Board since 2012, has given countless hours of service to the OAC over the past few years, and will be the new Chairwoman of the board started in 2016.

The OAC also welcomed Sarah Bramblette to the National Board of Directors. As an OAC member since 2012, Sarah has dedicated herself to raising awareness of the OAC, weight bias and the disease of obesity. Throughout 2015, Ms. Bramblette continued her advocacy work by sharing her story and lending her voice to the fight for all individuals affected by obesity.

The OAC’s annual board retreat took place in January as well, with board members and OAC staff joining together in San Antonio, Texas to preview the site of the 4th Annual Your Weight Matters National Convention, share with each other the progress the OAC has made thus far and to brainstorm ideas for the organization’s future.

February

New Your Weight Matters Campaign Poster Released

In February, the OAC released a FREE resource for healthcare professionals – the Your Weight Matters Campaign Poster. The Your Weight Matters Campaign Poster replaced the OAC’s long-standing Understanding Obesity Poster. It poses the question to patients: “Is your weight impacting your health?”

The OAC created this resource with the hope that it would encourage individuals to start the conversation about their weight with their healthcare providers. To learn more about this poster and order a FREE copy today, CLICK HERE.

OAC Requests Withdrawal of Legislation Proposing Fines for Parents of Children With Obesity in Puerto Rico

The month of February saw news stories about proposed legislation that would fine parents of children affected by obesity in Puerto Rico. This bill would allow the Department of Education to identify children affected by obesity, and if there was no improvement in their quality of health after six months, the department would have the authority to institute a complaint of abuse and fine the parents of the children.

With no other disease would parents be fined for their children’s health, and this proposed legislation was a clear example of how weight bias can impact the lives of families and children affected by obesity. The OAC and the Obesity Society commented on the proposed bill, saying it was misguided and ignores the core scientific understanding of obesity as a disease, and urged for the legislation’s withdrawal. To read the full statement, CLICK HERE.

March

OAC Calls for Removal of Stigmatizing Facebook Post on Runner’s World’s Social Media 

The OAC worked year-round to put an end to the stigmatizing and shaming behaviors associated with fat-shaming and weight bias, and in March the organization issued a letter to Runner’s World Magazine regarding a post the publication made on its Facebook page that joked about individuals affected by excess weight and obesity.

The image, posted on March 26, was of a screen on a smartphone where a user could set customized alarm clocks. The customized messages encouraged an individual to get out of bed and exercise, but the last message made a strong statement: “Hey! Fatty, fatty 2×4, shoes on.” To date, the OAC has received no response from Runner’s World regarding this matter.

April

Second Your Weight Matters Public Service Announcement Premieres 

In an effort to raise awareness of the importance of excess weight and obesity, the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC) released a new Your Weight Matters Campaign National television public service announcement (PSA) focusing on family, relationships and their impact on weight and health.

The PSA has aired thousands of times across the U.S. since its release. To view the OAC’s newest Your Weight Matters television PSA, CLICK HERE.

OAC speaks out against Britt McHenry’s Fat-shaming Comments

The OAC believes that individuals of every shape and size should be treated with dignity and respect. In April, ESPN Sports Reporter Britt McHenry made demeaning comments to a tow truck worker about her weight, and the OAC asked Ms. McHenry for a public apology. Ms. McHenry later apologized via Twitter and a public statement, and because of her actions, was suspended for a week by ESPN.

“The (American Medical Association) has said obesity is a disease. People need to start thinking about it that way, just like cancer and diabetes and high blood pressure,” said Melinda J. Watman, an OAC National Board of Directors Member who is also Chair of the OAC’s weight bias committee, in an interview on Yahoo’s The Insider concerning the matter. To view the entire interview, CLICK HERE.

OAC Members Lobby California Legislature for Better Medi-Cal Coverage of Obesity Treatment

In late April, OAC board member Amber Huett-Garcia and Dr. Jacqueline Jacques lobbied key state legislators to support California Assembly Bill (AB) 859 — legislation introduced by Assemblyman Jose Medina, Chair of the California Assembly Committee on Higher Education.

This legislation called for the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) to create an Obesity Treatment Action Plan to diagnose, treat and reduce obesity within the Medi-Cal program. Because of Ms. Huett-Garcia and Dr. Jacques’ passionate testimonies and advocacy efforts, the Health Committee passed the bill on a unanimous 19-0 vote. This advocacy work was great progress toward securing better coverage of obesity treatment options in California, and shows how every individual can make a difference in reaching these important goals.

May

OAC Reaches a Milestone of 50,000 Members

Before the OAC’s existence, there was not an organization that brought together individuals with obesity and/or concerned with the cause, despite the fact that obesity is one of the fastest growing epidemics of our time. There’s strength in numbers, and the OAC’s numbers only continue to grow! Last May, the OAC reached a milestone of 50,000 members who have joined us to become part of the unified voice for ALL individuals affected by obesity.

Want to become a part of the leading coalition fighting for ALL individuals affected by obesity? CLICK HERE to join to OAC today.

Treat and Reduce Obesity Act Presented to U.S. House of Representatives

All individuals deserve access to obesity care and treatment, and the OAC works year-round to help make this possible.

The Treat and Reduce Obesity Act of 2015, an important piece of legislation that was introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives on May 18, provides Medicare beneficiaries and their healthcare providers with meaningful tools to reduce obesity by improving access to weight-loss counseling and new prescription medications for chronic weight management.

To view the House version of the bill, CLICK HERE.

Obesity Care Continuum Launches Petition to Urge State Officials to Take Action on Increasing Access to Obesity Care and Treatment

Federal and state policymakers must speak out against state health exchange plans that discriminate against individuals with obesity. Without their support, millions of Americans will go without access to the full range of treatment tools available to others affected by chronic disease.

The Obesity Action Coalition joined alongside other organizations in the Obesity Care Continuum last May to bring awareness to this issue, by encouraging individuals to sign the Obesity Doesn’t Discriminate petition. To view the petition and contact your state officials, CLICK HERE.

June     

Treat and Reduce Obesity Act Introduced in the Senate

The Treat and Reduce Obesity Act was introduced into the U.S. Senate on June 4 to continue to bring awareness and support to the need for individuals to have access to obesity care and treatment.

“The Treat and Reduce Obesity Act of 2015 will provide Medicare recipients and their healthcare providers with meaningful tools to treat and reduce obesity by improving access to obesity screening and counseling services, and new prescription drugs for chronic weight management. Studies suggest that even a 5-10 percent weight-loss produces clinically significant reductions in risk factors for chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and others,” said Joe Nadglowski, OAC President and CEO.

To view the Senate version of the bill, CLICK HERE.

The OAC Celebrates Its First 10 Years as an Organization

For 10 years, the OAC has been the leading National non-profit standing-up for individuals affected by obesity, and we celebrated our anniversary throughout the month of June by looking back on our history as an organization. From “Throwback Thursday,” photos, to testimonies from our members, we reflected on everything that’s helped the OAC become what it is today.

To view a playlist of videos from the OAC’s 10 Year Celebration, CLICK HERE.

July

OAC Launches the Ban the F Word Movement

The OAC believes every individual deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. Fat-shaming is one of the last socially acceptable forms of bias, and through the Ban the F Word movement, we are taking a stand to say it’s time to end the shame. People are more than a word, and in recognition of this, it’s time to start seeing the person, and not the word “fat.”

We launched the movement to Ban the F Word : Fat-shaming movement in July, and we’ve had hundreds of OAC members supporters sign our petition to put an end to weight bias, whether it be in person, online or in the media. To learn more about the Ban the F Word movement, CLICK HERE.

OAC Members Advocate for Obesity and Anti-discrimination Legislation

In July, OAC National Board member Melinda Watman, BSN, MSN, CNM, MBA; and Obesity Medicine and Nutrition Specialist Fatima Stanford, MD, MPH, MPA, continued the fight against weight bias by testifying before the Massachusetts’ Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development at a public hearing in support of Representative Rushing’s obesity anti-discrimination legislation. OAC member Maria Caprigno and The Obesity Society’s Advocacy Committee Member Scott Butsch, MD, also testified regarding weight bias and its impact.

OAC Calls on Members to Speak Out Against Stigmatizing Video

At the end of July, the OAC was alerted to a blatant form of weight bias in the form of a stigmatizing video that parodied a conversation about weight between an individual affected by obesity and their healthcare provider. This video, titled “Healthcare NOT FAIR Episode 3: ‘Ms. Fatty,’” was a satirical video that not only encouraged weight bias in a healthcare setting, but damaged the healthcare professional-patient relationship.

After OAC membership took action and reached out to both KevinMD.com, the Web site promoting the video, and the creator of the video, the video was removed from KevinMD.com and set to “private viewing” on YouTube. To learn more about this weight bias issue, CLICK HERE.

August

OAC Shows Attendees They’re Not Alone in Their Journey at the 4th Annual Your Weight Matters National Convention

The Obesity Action Coalition (OAC) welcomed 575 registrants to the Lone Star State for three full days of education, advocacy and support. In its fourth year, the Your Weight Matters National Convention empowered those in attendance to recognize the complexities of obesity and stand with the OAC. The theme for YWM2015, “Our Journey – Restore. Refresh. Renew.,” quickly became apparent as attendees from throughout the Nation bonded as a united voice and realized that they are not alone in the journey of weight and health.

With a strong educational foundation delivered by some of the leading healthcare professionals in the nation, registrants armed themselves with the necessary evidence-based information to not only improve their weight and health, and moved forward with the OAC in raising awareness of obesity, combating weight bias, advocating for access to care and much more. To read more about the 4th Annual Your Weight Matters National Convention, CLICK HERE.

OAC Visits the White House and the First Lady’s “Let’s Move!” Campaign

OAC President and CEO Joe Nadglowski and Board Chairman Ted Kyle, RPh, MBA, visited the White House in August to meet with “Let’s Move!,” a program developed by First Lady Michelle Obama to solve the childhood obesity epidemic.

The group met to discuss ways to support the work of the “Let’s Move!” Campaign, and to discuss topics such as the Childhood Nutrition Reauthorization and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s revision to nutrition fact labels.

OAC Calls for Removal of Fat-shaming Social Media Pages

On August 26, the OAC was alerted to a new movement taking place on social media called “Thinner Beauty,” a campaign that edited images of individuals to make them appear thinner, and then posted a side-by-side comparison of the original image and the edited one to show the contrast in the individual’s physical size. The OAC believes that the public display of these images is a blatant display of weight bias and fat-shaming, and needs to stop.

We had more than 130 individuals raise their voices to let Facebook know that this page was a blatant and harmful form of weight bias and fat-shaming! We are proud to let you know that we celebrated a successful WIN because the shameful “ThInner Beauty” page was later removed from Facebook! To learn more about this weight bias issue, CLICK HERE.

September

OAC Tackles Weight Bias in New TV Series “Dr. Ken”

The OAC continued its fight against weight bias in September by speaking out against a promotional trailer for a new television series, “Dr. Ken,” staring comedic actor Ken Jeong. The series, promoted by ABC Network, is about “a brilliant physician with no bedside manner,” with the promotional content showing a blatant display of fat-shaming.

In the promotional footage for the series, there is an extremely stigmatizing interaction between Dr. Ken and one of his patients, where Dr. Ken dismisses the patient’s health concerns and chalks them all up to his weight. After speaking out about this issue, the OAC received a message from Ken Jeong via Twitter that stated the scene in the trailer was removed from the pilot and would not air. To learn more about this weight bias issue, CLICK HERE.

October

OAC Visits the U.S. Surgeon General’s Office

In October, OAC Board Chairman Ted Kyle, RPh, MBA, along with leaders from the Obesity Care Continuum (OCC) and the Diabetes Advocacy Alliance sat down with the U.S. Surgeon General, Vice Admiral Vivek H. Murthy, MD, MBA, to call for reducing the burden of weight bias and stigma that often stands in the way of addressing the chronic disease of obesity.

“The meeting with Surgeon General Vivek Murthy proved to be very productive in beginning a conversation about preventing chronic diseases through better care for people living with obesity,” Mr. Kyle said.

OAC Calls For Popular Beauty Product “FatGirlSlim” to Change its Stigmatizing Name

In October, the OAC called for its warriors against weight bias to write to all retailers who carried the product “FatGirlSlim,” about removing the product from store shelves due to its name. We later received notice from BlissWorld, LLC, the creators of the product, that they would be changing the name of this product. To read the letter that BlissWorld, LLC sent to the OAC, CLICK HERE.

November

OAC Brings Education to the Los Angeles Community at YWMLocal – 2015

The OAC brought the Your Weight Matters message into the city of Los Angeles, where attendees learned about topics relating to all aspects of weight and health, including nutrition, exercise, weight management treatment options, and motivation at our second annual Your Weight Matters Local Event.

Hosted in conjunction with ObesityWeek 2015, the OAC was proud to be able to bring the RIGHT information about weight and health into the Los Angeles community. To learn more about the Your Weight Matters Local Events program, CLICK HERE.

OAC Participates in Weight Bias Study

The OAC, along with other leaders in the field of obesity, presented new data that gave a first-hand look at the public’s views about obesity and how weight bias continues to shape public opinion about the disease. The research found that while there is public recognition that obesity‐focused shaming and blaming is wrong, social acceptance of people affected by obesity has declined.

To read more about this study, CLICK HERE.

OAC Joins the Obesity Care Advocacy Network

During ObesityWeek 2015, the OAC joined the formation of a new advocacy network, the Obesity Care Advocacy Network (OCAN), a network that will work to prevent the progression of obesity and increase access to treatment through uniting key obesity organizations and the larger obesity community around education, policy and legislative efforts.

“Efforts to address the obesity epidemic have expanded dramatically over the past few years; however, we know that many individuals still struggle with obesity,” said Joe Nadglowski, OAC President and CEO. “OCAN will work to increase access to treatment and educate the public, especially the U.S. healthcare system, on the seriousness of this epidemic.”

December

OAC Celebrates the Season of Giving with a Donation Matching Program

The OAC celebrated the “season of giving” by giving back to one of the organization’s key educational initiatives – The Your Weight Matters National Convention Scholarship Program. Throughout the month of December, the OAC worked to make quality education accessible to more individuals by matching all charitable gifts made through the duration of 2015 to the OAC Convention Scholarship Program, as part of the “OAC Gives back” initiative.

To learn more about this initiative, CLICK HERE

The OAC thanks all of you for your support throughout 2015, it’s because of this support that we’ve been able to continue our mission of providing education, advocacy and support to ALL individuals affected by obesity. A new year is upon us, and the OAC is excited to get started on all of the great plans we have in store for you – our members and supporters- throughout 2016!

     



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