The Obesity Action Coalition’s 12th annual Your Weight Matters Convention was a three-day, in-person event designed to equip attendees with the tools needed to take charge of their weight and health and shape a better world for people with obesity. More than 170 individuals from across the world came together for an inspirational weekend packed with science-based education, hands-on tools and, most notably, a community of unwavering support.

The theme of the YWM2023-Engage Convention was “The Power of Our Light,” presenting the pivotal question to attendees, “How will you use your light?” The goal of the weekend was for attendees to walk away knowing how they can leverage each of their unique strengths to make meaningful change for people living with obesity.

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Understanding How Weight Impacts Health

The YWM2023-Engage Convention crowd was made up of individuals eager to learn from the experts and explore all the ways to take charge of their health journey.

The lineup featured speakers with diverse backgrounds ranging from obesity medicine and nutrition to mental health. The expert-led sessions taught attendees how to look past the outdated BMI measurement to more accurately and respectfully describe obesity, the complex relationship between the brain and the stomach to better navigate hunger and metabolism, the influence of mindset on reaching weight and health goals, and much more.

By the end of YWM2023-Engage Convention’s educational sessions, attendees were equipped with practical tools to tackle their weight and health goals.

Advocating for a Better World for People with Obesity

The OAC aims to change the world for people living with obesity, and we cannot do it without the voice of our OAC Community. YWM2023-Engage helped more than 75 attendees strengthen, solidify and elevate their voices like never before with something for everyone, from advocacy-focused sessions to on-site action activities.

Beginner advocates had the opportunity to learn the basics of OAC’s advocacy work and how to get involved, while more seasoned advocates participated in a deep dive into how to take their advocacy skills to the next level. YWM2023-Engage also featured the OAC Advocacy Hub, where attendees learned all about our organization’s advocacy work, our victories this year and our plans for next year.

One crowd-favorite activity from the event was a 10-foot interactive map of the United States in which attendees could place stickers to showcase where they have taken action!

Attendees looking at map of U.S. indicating where they have taken action

By the end of the weekend, attendees were equipped to step up and take action by challenging instances of weight bias and hurdles to accessing care. Many attendees realized the potential impact of getting more involved with OAC and the different actions we can take daily to educate others on obesity.

Empower Early: Focusing on Childhood Obesity Care

Taking place during National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, YWM2023-Engage Convention proudly introduced a brand-new youth-focused program called the Empower Early Initiative. This initiative brought 11 families from across the nation together for a one-of-a-kind experience catered to teens living with obesity.

Not only did these families learn the science behind effective obesity care, they also developed lasting connections with one another. Some of the most heartwarming moments of the weekend were witnessing the teens smile, laugh and have fun with their new friends.

By the end of the weekend, many felt safe enough to share their stories with the rest of the crowd. For the first time, these teens learned that they are not alone in their journey anymore because they have joined a powerful Community of compassionate, supportive individuals who understand the challenges they face.

Group shot of all attendees standing in front of stage

How Will You Use the Power of Your Light?

OAC leaders wrapped up the weekend by sharing their experiences and encouraged attendees to stand up to the microphone and share theirs. We saw brand-new and returning Convention attendees share their stories of health challenges and weight bias, what brought them to the event and how they will advocate for the cause in the future.

YWM2023-Engage Convention became a safe space for a Community like none other – a place where all can be treated with dignity and respect, without fear of judgment, and knowing every person in the room understood their pain and challenges.

Attendees left feeling empowered in their health journeys and energized to create a better world for people living with obesity, understanding that each one of us has a unique spark that has the power to illuminate the path ahead. The light within each of us has the potential to not only change our own lives but touch the lives of countless others.

YWM2023-Engage Convention proved that the OAC Community is an unstoppable force for change. Together, we will use the power of our collective light discovered during the Convention to ignite change for people with obesity across the world.

About Your Weight Matters Convention

YWM2023 Convention events were proudly supported by multiple reputable companies in the health industry. National Sponsors supporting OAC’s 2023 Convention events include Platinum Sponsor – Eli Lilly; Gold Sponsors – Boehringer Ingelheim and Novo Nordisk; Silver Sponsors – Currax and Rhythm; and Bronze Sponsors – Geisinger, seca, Wondr Health and Weight Watchers.

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Our Mission Doesn’t End When the Convention Does

Each year, the Your Weight Matters Convention showcases the strength of our community, offering science-based strategies and fostering meaningful connections. But our mission doesn’t end there. It’s a year-round journey to provide vital education and support to millions living with obesity. Your donations power our commitment to offer accessible knowledge, empowering individuals to confidently navigate their lives.

Give today to help us keep this essential mission alive.

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