Today’s guest post comes from Jodi Krah. Jodi is an artist and activist, a community representative on the Canadian Obesity Network’s Science Committee, and a former member of the Canadian Obesity Network’s Public Engagement Committee. You can find out more about Jodi here.

I feel World Obesity Day is a moment of validation that obesity is indeed a disease; a moment that I can stop feeling so horrible about myself and my inability to cure my own disease. It says to the medical community and politicians that this classification is 100% supported by the World Health Organization and the Canadian Medical Association.

For decades, I subscribed to the commonly held belief that I had to heal myself. The cliché of “I made my bed, I can lie in it” comes to mind. However, I, like millions of others living with obesity, am gaining a clearer understanding of exactly just how improbable or monumental our health success is under the current opportunities afforded to us. Just look at the report card issued by The Canadian Obesity Network in the spring of 2017.  It is very clear to me, and would be to anyone reading it that has obesity, that our options are abysmal, especially when compared to access and options available to treat other diseases.  People living with obesity are listening and watching to see if this status quo is going to continue.

World Obesity Day calls upon our health systems, our politicians and philanthropic investors to think ‘big picture’, creatively and with fresh eyes to end the decades of suffering we have faced alone.

Who else can see the clear picture? If you continue doing the same old same old you will continue to have the same old same old results.  I spent decades trying the self-treatment approach, only to end up unhealthier. It wasn’t until I found help within the medical community that I am better able to manage it.  But, I am in a very small minority – less than 5%. I don’t think that success rate is acceptable and it needs to improve. Funding is needed to accomplish this. In doing so, Canadians affected by this are given hope that smart people somewhere are unravelling the complexity of it all and that medications can actually be affordable enough to buy.

How about taking all the tax collected by the diet industry and put it towards obesity? Where do those taxes go anyway? A solution is possible, but it won’t happen if you ignore it in the hopes obesity will just magically disappear, that we will just disappear. I assure we will grow our voice and our visibility with every day that goes by.

Today, we are asking our political leaders to regularly share with Canadians that there is a treatment inequity that has existed for decades which needs immediate correction.

There is more that can be done:

  • Find treatments that actually work
  • Approve and provide affordable access to medications, surgical options and behavioural treatment approaches that aid in the reduction of obesity
  • Promote a culture of understanding about how complex this disease actually is both in the medical community and the public

I hope in future years that World Obesity Day expands more messages to the public, to educate and provide words of support and hope to those affected. This is my thunderclap.