The Obesity Action Coalition’s 11th annual Your Weight Matters Engage Convention, was a three-day, in-person event designed to equip attendees with the advocacy tools needed to shape a better world for people living with obesity. Hosted July 14 – 16 in Henderson, NV, passionate obesity advocates from across North America came together for an inspirational weekend packed with top-notch education, hands-on tools and resources and a community of unwavering support. YWM2022-Engage attendees had the opportunity to gain a further understanding of the complex, chronic disease of obesity and how to share their lived experiences to make meaningful change for people with obesity.
The Importance of Understanding Obesity
Friday, the first full day of Convention, focused on education and featured expert speakers with backgrounds ranging from obesity medicine to mental health. YWM2022-Engage taught attendees how to overcome the negative self-talk that stems from weight bias presented by the media, healthcare professionals and even family and friends. Attendees learned that weight bias contributes to misunderstanding obesity, the science behind it, along with how vital it is to challenge weight bias in all its forms.
Attendees wrapped up the day with a better understanding of what the future of obesity holds and how we can better define the disease rather than solely focus on BMI. The key takeaway of the day was that if we can overcome bias about obesity and ourselves, we can better understand the disease and open doors to new ways to treat it.
Sharing Our Lived Experiences to Change the Narrative
Saturday focused on changing the narrative around obesity and advocating for a better world
that respects people with the disease. Speakers shared their stories and encouraged attendees to stand up to the microphone and share theirs. We saw brand-new and returning Convention attendees stand up to the microphone and 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. YWM2022-Engage 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.
By the end of Saturday evening, Convention attendees were equipped to step up and take action by challenging instances of weight bias, discrimination or hurdles to accessing care. Many attendees realized the potential impact of getting more involved with OAC and the different actions we can take every day to educate others on the topic of obesity. Whether we plan to speak to our elected officials or share our stories on social media to raise awareness, we know that our lived experience is the most powerful tool we can use to change the narrative around obesity. YWM2022-Engage attendees left feeling empowered in their own health journeys and energized to create a better world for people living with obesity.
YWM2022 Convention events were proudly supported by multiple reputable companies in the health industry. National Sponsors supporting OAC’s 2022 Convention events include Gold – Boehringer Ingelheim, Eli Lilly, and Novo Nordisk; Bronze –Currax, Geisinger, Rhythm, Wondr Health, WW (formerly Weight Watchers).
The Your Weight Matters Convention is an educational program proudly developed and hosted by the Obesity Action Coalition. In 2022, the OAC was pleased to bring two unique events to the Your Weight Matters Convention umbrella – YWM-Virtual (online) and YWM-Engage (in-person) – each designed to meet the diverse needs of the OAC’s Community. To learn more, please visit YWMConvention.com.