Counseling the Community Health Councils on Obesity

Last evening I gave a presentation to members of the Strathcona County Community Health Council (CHC). The CHCs are advisory bodies appointed by the Capital Health Board, to provide community perspectives that support Board business planning and strategic direction.

Council members are volunteers with strong community linkages. Most have been involved with local groups or organizations where they receive community input on various health issues.

Input from CHCs helps the Board to update its business plan and meet the health needs of people in the Capital Health region.

Thus, informing the CHC members about the importance of the Weight Wise program and its relevance to improving the health of their communities is of utmost importance.

As anticipated, the interest in Weight Wise was keen. Not only were they interested in learning about my vision for the program but also in the challenges and possible solutions to the obesity crisis.

I emphasized that Weight Wise is in fact not a single program but rather a whole suite of programs and initiatives addressing both obesity prevention and treatments in the Capital Health Region and beyond.

I spoke about the unique opportunities here in Edmonton, where we can indeed create a seamless obesity program that provides services across the continuum of care.

I spoke to the need of providing obesity care to the over 250,000 people in the region already clinically obese and the over 25,000 with severe obesity.

I also spoke about the many excellent researchers here at the University of Alberta already working on important issues relevant to obesity prevention and care.

My guess is that my presentation was well received – indeed, I hope it was.

It will take all the support we can get to create a climate in which spending money on obesity prevention and treatments is not the exception but rather the rule.