Obesity Affects Everyone: Barbara Thompson Speaks Out

Weight loss surgery isn’t as available as it could be to those who really need it. And since everyone is affected by obesity, here’s how you can spread awareness.

Weight loss surgery advocate Barbara Thompson, vice-chair of the Obesity Action Coalition since 2005, once took the personal steps to overcome obesity. And today she knows that many others can reach the same victory. But she also knows obesity affects everyone – those who have it and even those who don’t.

Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.

“Either they still are morbidly obese or were morbidly obese and have had surgery – or, even if you have had surgery, you still have family members around you who are touched by that obesity,” she said. “And even if you have had surgery, there is still that opportunity to re-gain some of that weight.”

The coalition exists, then, not just to raise a flag for weight loss operations. Thompson says it’s there to advocate health awareness that can prevent obesity and deal with it as it occurs in a healthy way, such as through bariatric surgery. The coalition also supports people who are beginning life after such a procedure.

All these goals need funding. But the coalition tries to accomplish them by pushing for legislation that makes weight loss surgery more commonly insured. It also created the Star Program, which prompts people to e-mail their legislators. On a local level, individuals can do the exact same thing the coalition does.

Thompson defeated obesity through laparoscopic surgery nearly ten years ago. Months after her operation, she authored Weight Loss Surgery: Finding The Thin Person Hiding Inside You and later co-wrote Weight Loss Surgery for Dummies. Her own experience put her in touch with many who shared it.

“I have had so many people who have contacted me over the years – probably hundreds – who have said ‘I want to give back, also, and I just don’t know how to do it,’” she said. “Belonging to the Obesity Action Coalition is the perfect way to do that.”

To get involved, visit www.obesityaction.org or www.walkfromobesity.com,