On Feb. 27, 2017, the obesity community joined together for the first Obesity Care Advocacy Network Advocacy Day of 2017, with 120 attendees visiting more than 150 congressional offices. During their visits, Obesity Care Advocacy Network members educated legislators and congressional staff about both the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act and a congressional resolution that would designate the week of Oct. 29 through Nov. 4, 2017, as National Obesity Care Week.
Sandwiched in between morning and afternoon Hill visits, attendees paused to join legislative staff for a special congressional lunch briefing sponsored by the Obesity Care Advocacy Network and Novo Nordisk, Inc., about the “Economics of Obesity and Its Implications for Productivity and Competitiveness.” The briefing, which featured economists, patient advocates, and the former mayor of Nashville, Tenn., highlighted how obesity is an expanding health problem for more than 60% of Americans, and how a new study by Hugh Waters and Ross DeVol finds that obesity is a tremendous drain on the U.S. economy. The authors of the study discussed how the total cost to treat health conditions related to obesity — ranging from diabetes to Alzheimer’s — plus obesity’s drag on attendance and productivity at work, exceeds $1.4 trillion annually.
The day ended with a reception hosted by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Political Action Committee (AND PAC), which featured Senator Tom Carper (D-DE, one of the Senate sponsors of the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act and the Senate National Obesity Care Week resolution. More than 50 Obesity Care Advocacy Network members attended the AND PAC-sponsored reception, including representatives from the Obesity Medicine Association, American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, Obesity Action Coalition, and The Obesity Society.