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YWM2019: A Weekend of Education, Empowerment and Advocacy

“The energy and impact of the entire weekend from the speakers, exhibitors and the OAC Community was simply inspiring,” said Joe Nadglowski, OAC President and CEO.

The Obesity Action Coalition is proud to have hosted our 8th Annual Your Weight Matters Convention & EXPO from August 1-3 in Tampa, FL. Together, passionate health advocates from five different countries and 34 states were empowered in their own health journeys and energized to continue changing the world for people living with obesity. With a fitting theme of “Changing Tides, Navigating Health and Taking Action,” attendees gathered for an inspirational weekend packed with top-notch education, tools, resources and support as fuel for their unique journeys with weight and health.


“From the first moment I walked into the conference area and saw the ObesityAction registration booth on Thursday until Saturday night lights out, every minute brought me something to appreciate.“ – Jeanine M. Sherman



“It is exceptional to be in a place that truly honors and holds space for our stories of life with obesity.” – Liz Paul

YWM2019 brought-in incredible leaders with different backgrounds, passionate advocates and attendees eager to gain practical tools to apply to their journeys with weight and to create an impact and make a difference in their lives and for those affected by obesity.

“I am a hiker, a friend, and advocate, an uncle, a bariatric patient, and so much more. I also happen to be a person with obesity.” – Rob Portinga

During this electrifying weekend, attendees had the opportunity to share their stories, experiences and journeys with weight. Throughout different sessions and trainings, many discovered how important and powerful our stories are and how the scale does not define who we are.

“We are not defined by our weight. We are defined by who we are as individuals. We are powerful, self-knowing and strong.“– Melinda J. Watman



“I went in knowing I had a great foundation from the bariatric program and years of research but still learned more than I could have imagined.” – Beth Kapi

Upwards of 400 attendees had the opportunity to gain further understanding about the complex, chronic disease of obesity during the more than 52 educational sessions and panels lead by National experts on topics such as nutrition, weight maintenance, obesity-related conditions and much more.

“Hearing integral members of healthcare teams emphasize quality of life and the patient’s goals instead of consistently pushing weight-loss is incredibly refreshing and releases some of the intense pressure I was putting on myself to will those numbers on the scale down.” – Faith Anne

In addition to quality education and resources, attendees found a supportive and understanding community that just gets it. The ups and downs, the challenges and small victories, all of it.

“I enjoyed meeting so many people from everywhere who have gone through a lot of the same issues as me. The sessions were informational and uplifting. I loved it all. I can’t wait to see everyone next year.“ – Tonya Ham



“Together, we will change tides and take action for all patients battling the disease of obesity.” – Kristal Hartman

YWM2019 generated a momentum that empowered each attendee to do more and take action. OAC is honored to have trained over 50 new advocates that are ready to take action in their own communities and apply their passion to create change.

“We are real people with real lives. We are not statistics. We are people first.” – Michelle Vicari

By the end of Saturday night, attendees discovered that we all have it in us to become our own advocate. Many realized the potential impact of getting involved and the different types of actions that we can take on a daily basis to educate others in the topic of obesity. YWM2019 empowered us all with new knowledge and tools to advocate for a better world for people living with obesity.

“I have a year under my belt with fire and demand to get out and ramp up the advocacy. Thank you, thank you, thank you.“ – Shenese Colwell




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