Tampa, Fla. – The Obesity Action Coalition (OAC) welcomed more than 500 attendees to Orlando last month for the 2014 Your Weight Matters National Convention (YWM2014), Together We S.H.I.N.E. Convention attendees experienced three full days of evidence-based education on topics such as food addiction, mindful eating, weight-loss options and much more. In addition to the unparalleled education, the OAC also had the pleasure of offering some brand new components this year, such as the OAC’s Inaugural Advocacy March to Washington, DC, the YWM Healthy Living EXPO and a brand new advocacy session, Advocacy for Beginners: Developing Your Inner Advocate.

“YWM2014 was amazing. This year we had an 80 percent new attendee registration and broke our all-time attendance record with more than 500 attendees. I am continually overwhelmed with the quality of education presented each year. You simply cannot find this level of education anywhere else. I am very proud of this year’s Convention and thankful for our attendees, the OAC National Board of Directors, volunteers and staff,” said Ted Kyle, RPh, MBA, OAC Chairman.

Brand new this year, the OAC offered an Advocacy for Beginners: Developing Your Inner Advocate session, which focused on various ways attendees could advocate, such as exhibiting for the OAC, working with media and more. Combined with the OAC’s National Advocacy Training, the OAC trained more than 80 individuals.

This year the OAC wanted to make it a priority to give back to the local community where the Convention was held. To accomplish this, the OAC hosted the Your Weight Matters Healthy Living EXPO in partnership with the YMCA of Central Florida, a leader in health promotion in the communities of the greater Orlando area. Featuring more than 35 vendor booths displaying products and services best suited to help individuals along their journey toward improved health, the EXPO welcomed hundreds of Orlando-area families free-of-charge.

Throughout the weekend, the OAC’s Advocacy March to Washington, DC, also took place with both Convention attendees and participants from all over the country texting in steps to help the OAC reach the goal of 1.7 million steps to Capitol Hill! Because of the great participation from Convention attendees and those who joined the Virtual March from afar, the OAC was able to virtually reach the final steps to Washington, DC, on Sunday morning and had a final count of more than 2.5 million steps!

During YWM2014, the OAC also announced the 2014 OAC Annual Awards Winners. The winners are as follows: OAC Member of the Year – Sarah Bramblette; Healthcare Provider Advocate of the Year – Merrill Littleberry, LCSW, LCDC, CCM, CI-CPT; Chairman’s Award – Amber Huett-Garcia, MPA, BS; Barbara Thompson Award for Advocacy – Rob Portinga; Bias Buster of the Year – Abby Lentz; Community Leader of the Year – Georgia Chapter of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery; and the Dr. Blackstone Outstanding Membership Recruitment by a Physician Award – New Life Center for Bariatric Surgery – Stephen G. Boyce, MD; and Rocky Mountain Associated Physicians – Sherman C. Smith, MD, FACS; Steven C. Simper, MD, FACS; Rodrick McKinlay, MD, FACS; and Fielding Dunn, PA-C.

The tremendous success of YWM2014 would not have been possible without the generous support of this year’s sponsors. The OAC would like to thank the 2014 National Sponsors for their support: Platinum – Eisai Inc.; Gold – Apollo Endosurgery, Covidien, Novo Nordisk, and Vivus; Silver – Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Bronze – Bariatric Advantage, Bari Life Bariatric Supplements, Celebrate Vitamins, Ethicon, and Takeda.

The OAC is excited to announce that the 4th Annual Your Weight Matters National Convention will take place in San Antonio, Texas, at the San Antonio Marriott Rivercenter on August 13-16, 2015. Learn more at www.YWMConvention.com.

The Obesity Action Coalition (OAC), a nearly 50,000 member-strong National nonprofit organization, is dedicated to improving the lives of individuals affected by the disease of obesity through education, advocacy and support.