Seeking Access to Treatment while Preserving the Right to Reject It
The OAC has long been an advocate for two policies that, at times, might seem to be polar opposites. The first policy is that everyone should have access to the legitimate medical treatments for obesity. The second, and equally important policy, is that individuals reserve the right to not seek treatment and no one should be discriminated against because of their obesity, whether or not they have chosen to seek or reject treatment. Many people may think this seems paradoxical, but to me, it makes perfect sense. Here’s why:
The decision to seek treatment is a very personal one. When someone affected finally realizes that their obesity is impacting both their health and their life and they need to do something about it, I feel very strongly that they should have the help they need. The ability to access treatment quickly, and without having to “jump through hoops,” in my opinion, will help continue to motivate that person who realized they need to change. Our system now, with the lack of access and if there is access, too many hurdles, really discourages treatment. This not only harms the patient, but also society, as healthcare costs associated with obesity continue to grow.
My belief that no one should be forced into treatment or discriminated against because they do not seek it is based on my belief that someone who is affected must be ready for treatment. You can’t make someone engage at the level necessary to be successful by force. Combined with the knowledge that discrimination/bias/stigma, whatever term you choose to use, leads people to further delay readiness and does not encourage it. Through these facts, I hope you can see why I do not support forcing or discriminating.
So, they may seem like opposites, but really they go hand in hand. We do and should continue to fight for access and also continue to fight for fair treatment of those who are not yet ready to address their obesity.
I’d be curious to your views. Feel free to share your thoughts.
Making a Difference Together,