Because obesity—the most prevalent and costly chronic disease in the United States—remains largely undiagnosed and untreated a decade after the American Medical Association (AMA) classified it as a serious disease requiring comprehensive care, the National Consumers League (NCL) and the National Council on Aging (NCOA) introduced the nation’s first Obesity Bill of Rights and launched a grassroots movement, Right2ObesityCare, to ensure these rights are incorporated into medical practice.
The Council is pleased to be among nearly 40 consumer, aging and public health organizations to endorse the Obesity Bill of Rights.
To drive transformational change in obesity treatment, the Obesity Bill of Rights establishes and promotes eight essential rights as the core requirements for adults who are overweight or experience obesity to receive person-centered, quality care:
1. The Right to Accurate, Clear, Trusted, and Accessible Information on obesity as a treatable chronic disease
2. The Right to Respect by all members of the integrated care team when screening, counseling, and providing treatment
3. The Right to Make Treatment Decisions about one’s health goals and obesity care in consultation with the individual’s health providers
4. The Right to Treatment from Qualified Health Providers, including counseling and ongoing care from health providers with expertise in obesity care
5. The Right to Person-Centered Care that is personalized, respects the individual’s cultural beliefs, meets their specific health goals, and considers the person’s whole health and not just their weight status
6. The Right to Accessible Obesity Treatment from Health Systems, so those with severe obesity receive care in settings that allow for privacy, using size- and weight-accessible equipment and diagnostic scans
7. The Right for Older Adults to Receive Quality Obesity Care that comprises a respectful, comprehensive care approach consistent with their personalized medical needs
8. The Right to Coverage for Treatment with access to the full range of treatment options for the person’s disease as prescribed by the individual’s health provider through health insurance that is widely available, comprehensive, and affordable
With the goal of reversing the trajectory of the nation’s obesity epidemic, NCL and NCOA have spearheaded Right2ObesityCare, a new grassroots movement to engage people with obesity, their caregivers, health professionals, community leaders, employers, and a network of obesity and chronic disease organizations to drive adoption of the Obesity Bill of Rights in clinical settings.
Using the online hub www.right2obesitycare.org to mobilize stakeholders, Right2ObesityCare focuses on national and state policy efforts, including developing a set of national “obesity goals” for full implementation of the Obesity Bill of Rights by December 31, 2029.