In October, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AP) came out with a bold statement: bariatric surgery should be considered a treatment option for teenagers with severe obesity. It’s safe, it’s effective, and research backs it up.

Faith Anne, a bariatric surgery patient just at 16 years old, is now a passionate advocate for anyone who struggles with obesity.The AP article also took a personal turn. It featured two headline photos and a quote from Faith Anne Newsome, a young member of the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC) Community.

Currently, Faith is a college senior in North Carolina. But at 16 years old, she made the decision to have bariatric surgery. The surgery was successful, and Faith reflects on that decision as having transformed her health and life. Since then, she finds passion in supporting other young people challenged by obesity. Always standing up on their behalf, Faith even created her own small nonprofit (O.C.E.A.N.S Lifestyles) to help teens and young adults who struggle with their weight.

AP asked Faith if she has any regrets about surgery. She answered, “Never. Teens should be able to discuss every option with their doctors, and surgery should be one of those options.”

Bariatric Surgery Backlash

When comments to the AP article came flooding in, Faith waded through a lot of emotions. Many of the comments were downright cruel and rooted in weight bias. They didn’t reflect the right education about obesity. These are just a few of them:

  • Bariatric surgery is a “quick fix” and the “easy way out.”
  • People with obesity should put down the food and put away their devices.
  • If a teen has severe obesity, they are a victim of child abuse.

These responses aren’t uncommon. Actually, they’re the norm. This is weight stigma, and it results from not having the RIGHT education on obesity and failing to consider the experiences of real people.

Responding with Grace and Insight

Although these comments were personal for Faith, she chose to respond with positivity. Taking to social media, she spoke of the science behind obesity and shared helpful resources for others who might be struggling. Soon, an army of others were rallying behind her. Most of them were OAC Members!

Inspired by her activism, the OAC asked Faith about her thoughts and feelings surrounding this experience with AP. Needless to say, we are proud to share her insightful message with all of you.

A Few Takeaways: 

A lot can be said about Faith’s responses to negative comments in the AP article, so here are a few key takeaways that sum everything up nicely:

  • Science has proven bariatric surgery to be safe and effective.
  • Weight stigma and a lack of education often prevent others from seeing surgery as an option.
  • When responding to stigmatizing comments about obesity, your resources are better spent offering support and education rather than arguing.

To read more about Faith’s personal story and her activism, CLICK HERE.