Getting Started as an Advocate
We’ve made getting started simple. Here’s a list of ways you can educate, support and advocate for individuals affected by obesity:
You may wonder how legislators in DC and your state capitol have anything to do with how you manage your health, but their influence could be more direct than you think. Often, the laws they create directly influence our day-to-day lives or regulate the medical treatments we receive.
As citizens of this country, we have the right to build a relationship with our elected officials advocate for positive change. You can reach out to legislators through mail, e-mail, phone, attending town hall meetings or in-person.
Keep in mind that you elect your lawmakers; they serve you and need to know the issues you care about. We’ve listed a few links below that will equip you to have clear and concise communication with your representative and start a conversation to create change!
- Find Your Legislator
- Tips on writing your representatives
- Learn more about your state’s obesity program
- Read how laws are made
Regulators are the individuals who work for government agencies and they play a major role in how healthcare is provided and accessed. These agencies include the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Food and Drug Administration, National Institute for Health and Centers for Disease Control, among many others.
Public comments are often welcomed during public commenst periods and are a great opportunity to share your view on different proposed regulations. Below are some links to help educate regulators on policies that affect our health.
- Tips on writing regulatory officials
- Locate your state’s Department of Insurance
- Locate your state’s regulatory agency
- Find your state’s Medicaid Program
Educate the Media
Our society is tremendously influenced by the media. Encourage your local media to produce accurate stories on obesity and don’t hesitate to contact local newspaper reporters and/or television health reporters and share your story. Try to build a good relationship with the local media by providing accurate information and timely responses.
If you see a story, television show or article and believe it was inaccurate, one-sided and/or added to the negative stigma of obesity, write or call the media outlet and share your concerns.
We have the power to change the way people view obesity, below are links to help educate your local and national media representatives.
Educate Insurers and Employees
Does your health insurance offer obesity treatment coverage? If you’ve been seeking treatment, you probably already know the answer to that question, but if you don’t you can find out by calling the member service number on your insurance card. If coverage isn’t offered or you have to jump through difficult hoops and hurdles to access care, you should write your insurance’s medical director for an explanation.
Your human resources department or benefits manager can play a major role in deciding what’s covered and what’s not in your employer’s insurance plans. You can share the importance of obesity coverage and encourage them to provide policies that offer obesity coverage benefits.
To provide your employer and insurance company with statistics demonstrating the effectiveness of obesity treatments, and to learn how to work with your insurance provider, please click here.
Educate the General Public
It’s important that the public receives accurate information on obesity and its treatments, as well as the numerous related conditions (diabetes, heart disease, sleep apnea, etc.). You can be the source of reliable information by speaking on health and obesity topics at your place of worship, service club, workplace and on social media platforms. You’d be surprised how sharing your personal story can tremendously influence others!
Be Your Own Advocate
Learn as much as you can about obesity, its risks and treatments to best take care of yourself. Not only will you likely improve your own quality of life and quality of health, you will be an inspiration to others.
Join and Encourage Others to Join the OAC
Join and encourage others to join in our efforts to educate, advocate and support those affected by obesity.
For more information on membership, please click here.