Toxic Toadstool

Fixing a Doubly Toxic Environment for People with Obesity

Many people can agree on one thing about obesity. Certainly, it’s clear that we live in a toxic environment that promotes the condition. We can debate what elements are most responsible. Is it the food supply or the structures of our lives that keep us inactive? Then we have to consider toxic chemicals, drugs, and stressors that promote obesity. But in fact, all these elements are contributing. They serve to activate obesity in susceptible individuals.

However, the toxic environment for obesity goes deeper. That’s because of a cultural bias that’s hostile to the people affected. It comes in the form of explicit shaming and implicit bias that makes the world doubly toxic for people living with obesity.

A Global Effort to Fix It

Yesterday, we received the encouraging news of a global effort to fix the problem. The Obesity Action Coalition has banded together with other advocacy organizations in the Global Obesity Patient Alliance (GOPA). The goal is simple: to ignite and inspire global change for people living with obesity. That means reducing bias, stigma, and discrimination. It also means elevating the voices of patients in policymaking and advocacy. And perhaps most important, it means raising the standard of care for people with obesity.

In short, it’s all about fixing a global environment that’s toxic for the people who are living with obesity.

GOPA Secretariat Kristy Kuna explains:

The formation of GOPA has been a tremendous step forward for people with obesity. We must work together to bring change in the areas that have a direct impact on the health and lives of individuals. We want to see a world with less obesity, but we also want to equally see a world where people who live with obesity are treated fairly and have access to the care they need,

Growing Reach

One of GOPA’s goals is to expand the reach of the alliance by encouraging more advocates in more parts of the world to rise up and organize. Thus far, GOPA has good reach in North America and Europe. Members include Obesity Canada, Obesity UK, the European Coalition for People Living with Obesity (ECPO), Adipositasforeningen (Denmark), and Adipositaschirurgie Selbsthilfe Deutschland e.V. (Germany).

We hope and we believe this list will grow. With a vibrant community of patient advocates rising up, we see great possibilities

Click here for the press release from OAC and here for more about GOPA.

Toxic Toadstool, photograph © yrjö jyske / flickr

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March 11, 2020