Ted Kyle in YWM2019 Opening Session

YWM2019: Please Raise Your Voice with Us

YWM2019 opened yesterday with powerful personal stories about coming to terms with obesity and advocating for change. The message from every corner of this meeting was clear. Please raise your voice. Because it’s your voice and your lived experience with obesity that will lead us all to better care and less stigma.

In the opening session, three leading advocates shared just how important the voice of every person living with obesity can be.

Speaking Out Against Injustice and Disparity

OAC Board Member Kristal Hartman spoke with deep passion about the constant struggle to receive real, effective care for obesity.

This is why I advocate. To fight the injustice and disparity of obesity care compared to the standard of care for all other chronic diseases. It is NOT OK that the system considers our disease a lifestyle due to weight bias and stigma. It’s just wrong to say we are simply lazy and at personal fault for our weight. They need to know better.

And we will shout it from the rooftops until they hear it clearly. We will bring real change for better and equal access to care.

Action to Replace Empty Talk

Ted Kyle, an OAC board member and ConscienHealth’s founder, talked about listening to the voices of people living with obesity. And he realized how rare that is:

That’s what gave me a clue that all the talk about obesity was empty. No action came with the talk to help the people affected. The empty talk was serving to place blame and shame on people. It was all talk and no listening – let alone action.

So when I got the chance to join the OAC and its Board of Directors, I jumped on it. You see, I knew that the key to turning the tide on obesity depended on lifting up the voices of people living with obesity. I knew that change would come when people started speaking up for themselves and demanding something better.

Worthy of Care

OAC Vice Chair Patty Nece spoke movingly about her struggles with the stigma that she internalized. She told us that despite deep beliefs in a loving God, she questioned her own worthiness of that love.

Before I could become an advocate, I had to know that I am a person who matters. A person who is worthy of having my voice heard. And you know what? You are worthy too.

Time to Raise Our Voices

In the Obesity Action Coalition, Kristal, Ted, and Patty – along with more than 60,000 others – have found the importance of lifting up the voices of people living with obesity. And these voices are bringing a tide of changes for better care and better lives.

Click here to follow YWM2019 on Twitter and here to learn more about the OAC Community.

Ted Kyle in YWM2019 Opening Session, photograph by Ian Patton, PhD via Twitter

Subscribe by email to follow the accumulating evidence and observations that shape our view of health, obesity, and policy.


August 3, 2019

One Response to “YWM2019: Please Raise Your Voice with Us”

  1. August 05, 2019 at 11:37 am, Allen Browne said:

    And now it is time to mobilize the parents and children.

    Thank you.