Jason Krynicki of Manchester, New Jersey, is the kind of advocate and activist who inspires you to dream big.
An OAC Member for a number of years now, he’s managed to do something quite incredible in a short amount of time: turn his own experience with obesity into broader awareness on the state and national level.
(CLICK HERE to learn more about Jason’s journey with obesity in a past issue of OAC’s Weight Matters Magazine)
New Jersey Recognizes Second Week of October as Obesity Care Week
In his home state of New Jersey, Jason recognized a gap that needed to be filled. At 27 percent of the state population, New Jersey’s obesity rate continues to climb – just like it’s doing across the country.
But through his relationship with the OAC, Jason has also learned an important truth: the issue of obesity is not simply a matter of eating less, moving more, and finding the willpower to lose weight and keep it off. Obesity is a complex disease, and stigma toward people who have it can limit their ability to find help.
Empowered by his personal struggles, Jason decided to approach New Jersey state legislators about recognizing an “Obesity Care Week” that would encourage others to broaden their understanding of obesity and treat it seriously. He leaned on his knowledge through the OAC to share information about:
- Health risks of obesity
- Limited access to treatment
- Reducing stigma among healthcare professionals
- The perception of obesity as a result of bad behavior
- Having patients, families, healthcare providers, policy makers and others work together to address obesity
Jason also continued to raise his voice, share his story, and urge state legislators to make “Obesity Care Week” happen. He provided language for legislators to draft a working resolution and shared OAC educational resources to back up his case.
Then, months later, his efforts appeared to have paid off. New Jersey State Governor Philip Murphy signed off on this resolution. The second week of October of each year has now been officially designated “Obesity Care Week.”
To read more about Jason’s advocacy in New Jersey and what inspires him to act, CLICK HERE for his recent news feature.
Georgia Follows in NJ’s Footsteps
The good news doesn’t stop there, however. For some time now, advocates have been fighting aggressively in Georgia to improve patient care for individuals affected by obesity.
OAC Member, advocate and bariatric surgeon Renee Hilton has put a lot of enthusiasm into these efforts through her leadership in the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) to see better access to care for state employees. In planning to coordinate a Georgia Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill, Hilton and ASMBS also saw the great work Jason was doing – and they wanted to combine both of these efforts to create an “Obesity Care Awareness Day.”
So, like a domino effect, Hilton and ASMBS shared a similar resolution to that of New Jersey’s with GA state legislature. In record time, the work paid off as February 4th of each year is now designated “Obesity Care Awareness Day” in Georgia.
Watch the Video Below to see this resolution becoming official.
All it Takes is a Desire for Change
Jason and Renee, and many other OAC Members like them, don’t have a career in policy. They aren’t lobbyists, educators or researchers. They are ordinary people with an extraordinary passion for the wellbeing of people affected by obesity.
If you have a similar passion for obesity-related issues such as eliminating weight stigma or improving access to care for patients, that’s all you need to begin making a difference.
CLICK HERE to visit the OAC Action Center for help getting started.