by Chris Gallagher, OAC Policy Consultant
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As part of continuing efforts to educate federal policymakers about the critical need for national efforts to both prevent and treat obesity, the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC) spearheaded a coalition of more than 45 healthcare groups in asking all Americans to contact their legislators on Capitol Hill and urge them to “address weight as a matter of health!”

This call-to-action came in the form of a full-page advertisement, which was sponsored by the OAC in the May 7 issue of the Capitol Hill Newspaper, Politico, to coincide with the opening of the CDC’s Weight of the Nation Conference. The ad calls on all Americans, stating that: “Obesity is a serious medical condition and your weight matters. Numerous other conditions, both physical and psychosocial, are being linked to excess weight on a daily basis. Simply put, weight and health go hand-in-hand. Therefore, let’s treat obesity with the respect, urgency and action it deserves!”

Advocates can access the OAC’s Legislative Action Center here to tell policymakers that:
When you next discuss how to improve our nation’s health, please consider the following evidence-based recommendations from the STOP Obesity Alliance to change the national conversation about weight and pledge to remember that:

  • Weight is about health, not appearance.
  • Weight status does not necessarily reflect health status.
  • It takes more than willpower to maintain a healthy weight – a strong support system is necessary.
  • Body size and shape are influenced by inherited and environmental factors.
  • Body mass index is one of many factors in determining a person’s weight status as it relates to health.
  • Incremental and sustained weight-loss advised by a healthcare provider is safe and healthy – whereas crash diets are dangerous and can contribute to negative health outcomes.

Supporting groups on the call-to-action included the leading groups in the obesity community (American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, The Obesity Society and American Society of Bariatric Physicians) as well as other major healthcare provider and patient groups such as the Arthritis Foundation, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, Trust for America’s Health, American College of Cardiology, Mental Health America and the National Women’s Health Resource Center.