As regular readers of Obesity Panacea probably know, Peter and I are both active members of the Canadian Obesity Network (CON). It’s a very active organization which brings together researchers and practitioners in the area of obesity through a range of excellent conferences, workshops and the famous CON Obesity Research Bootcamp.
But up until now CON has been an organization strictly for professionals, rather than individuals who are themselves struggling with weight. From Dr Arya Sharma, Scientific Director of CON:
As recently posted, the Canadian Obesity Network is now working with its many partners to launch a Canadian Obesity Awareness and Control Initiative for Health (COACH) – a national initiative that will have two central objectives:
1) to provide Canadians with reliable information on obesity, its causes, its consequences, its treatment.
2) to help Canadians identify credible obesity management resources in their health systems and communities.
As Jim, a community Ambassador of COACH from Edmonton, who has battled obesity all his life succinctly states:
“I kept going to my family physician and he kept telling me to lose weight, with absolutely no suggestions how to do so. I think out of utter frustration, for both of us, he finally referred me to my local Primary Care Network and the Weight Wise Clinic for some sort of guidance. I only wish COACH had existed when I was starting my weight management journey. It’s about time Canadians had one go-to resource for weight management help. It would have made my task and life infinitely easier.”
In short, COACH hopes to change the landscape of obesity care in Canada – your voice will be heard.
Not surprisingly I am wholeheartedly in support of COACH, and its two central objectives align closely with the goals of this blog. If you agree that these are important objectives (and if you read this blog, you probably do) then I would urge you to show your support by visiting the COACH website here. I signed-up in support of COACH yesterday and it took all of 30 seconds – I notice that the number of supporters has increased by about 50% overnight, so it seems to be quickly gaining momentum! The COACH website also allows you to share your personal stories explaining why you feel this is an important initiative, as many people have already done:
“In addition to identifying credible weight management approaches, I would like to see this initiative work to highlight all the weight loss myths, programs and products in the marketplace with a view to reducing or eliminating them.“
“I am a new father who has decided to change my life and get my weight under control for the sake of my newborn son. There needs to be a massive reform in terms of all levels of healthcare and weight related professions, they all need to get on the same page, and we need to make information and direction much easier to attain. If I am having trouble, as an obesity researcher and acedemic myself, how hard do you think it is going to be for the average canadian?”
“I lost over 70 pounds in 4 months at [a] Diet Clinic. It cost me a few thousand dollars. Within 2 years I had gained it all back, plus 20. This was the last of many attempts to lose weight…I would like to be part of a network that is supportive and helpful with solid information on weight loss and management.”
“I have been overweight my entire life. I am morbidly obese now but have been able to pass it off as ok because I excelled at sports that encouraged my size (football, wrestling). Even though I am in the Obesity research feild, I feel as if getting help is near impossible. I have failed many times at losing weight and the more information I seek, the more discrepancies there are. I wish everyone was on the same page. I wish getting help and guidance was not such a struggle.”
“I am in the health care profession and am a bit overwhelmed by working my way through the information out there…how much to exercise, what kind of exercise, low carb, low fat etc.”
If you work in weight management or are an individual who has a personal connection with this issue, then I urge you to visit the COACH website to show your support today.