OAC Position Statements
As the OAC is the leading nonprofit organization who’s sole focus is representing individuals affected by obesity, we are continually asked our position on a variety of obesity-related topics both general and specific. The OAC Board of Directors developed OAC Position Statements in order to provide the general public with a foundational basis of the OAC’s viewpoints and positions.
It is our hope that these statements reflect the ideals, needs and thoughts of those affected by all forms of obesity. The OAC will continue to evaluate these statements and modify them as topics arise in the obesity and healthcare communities. It is vitally important for the OAC and its constituents to stay up-to-date on the latest obesity-related topics and represent all those affected.
- Obesity is a complex, multifactoral, and chronic disease that requires a comprehensive medical approach to care. It is the second leading preventable cause of death in the U.S., and is associated with a large number of co-morbid conditions. Care should therefore not be seen as simply having the goal of reducing body weight, but should additionally be focused on improving overall health and quality of life.
- Efforts should be made to both prevent and treat obesity at all stages, and in all age groups. This may include, but is not limited to treatments such as surgery; physician supervised programs; drug, diet and lifestyle interventions; educational programs; and school and community-based programs.
- Health insurance should cover care for obesity as a standard benefit. Insurance should cover the most appropriate and proven treatments to treat the given stage of overweight or obesity. Recognizing obesity as a chronic condition, insurance should also cover necessary long-term follow-up care for obesity treatment. Access to care needs to be both mandatory and reasonable, and should not require undue tests or prerequisites on the part of the patient.
- Obesity is a condition that is currently having and continues to have an impact at all levels of our society. As such, action is needed at the levels of the individual, community, government, healthcare and insurance.
- Obesity is not a condition of personal choice. Individuals affected by obesity frequently struggle with not only the health and physical consequences of their disease but also with professional and social consequences. Discrimination against individuals affected by obesity occurs in schools, workplaces, doctors’ offices and more. No person should be discriminated against based on their size or weight. Individuals with obesity should be legally protected against such discrimination.
- Obesity is often misunderstood, which contributes to both discrimination and care issues. It is important to educate the public, health professionals, and policy makers about obesity as a disease, the issues impacting individuals affected by obesity and the treatments available to help.