Readers Respond to the COACH Initiative

Sometimes it is easy to recognize that a post has struck a chord with readers.

This clearly seems to be the case with yesterday’s post about the planned launch of the Canadian Obesity Awareness and Control Initiative for Health (COACH), which will provide Canadians struggling with excess weight reliable information on obesity and help them find credible obesity management resources in their health care systems and communities.

Within hours of yesterdays post, hundreds of people from across Canada signed up to show their support.

Here is what some of the newly self-appointed COACH supporters had to say (some comments were edited for brevity):

“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 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 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 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.”

“Personally, I am very interested in this topic of obesity, as I myself am obese and a type II diabetic. It is very important that the citizens of Canada get this kind of information and programming in any way possible. Most likely through their doctors and local health clinics, and hopefully through public educational institutions. Any form of coaching would be an asset to all Canadians.”

“Throughout my personal and professional life I’ve known people who suffer from obesity (the social and physiological complications). I am constantly amazed at how our society has constantly blamed the fat person and ignored the systemic triggers for obesity. I hope that COACH is able to work on all the levels to help people get on track with healthy living.”

“I have worked in the health promotion/disease prevention field for a number of years and believe the overweight/obese public need to be supported in their efforts to make changes to their healthy eating and physical activity behaviours. This support must be community-based, accessible, credible and reliable.”

“I am 38 and have been struggling with my weight since my teens. My weight has been up and down and after working so hard to get my weight down, I have never been able to keep it down. There is a lot of info available but it is hard to know sometimes what info I should be listening to. I sure think this would be a valuable resource for so many people.”

“All the best with the COACH initiative.”

Certainly signing up several hundred COACH supporters in a day is not a bad start – but there are now over 6,000,000 Canadians who are clinically obese including over 1,000,000 who would be considered “severely” obese by any standards. The numbers for childhood obesity are also rapidly approaching the one million mark.

If only 1 out of 100 Canadians struggling with obesity supported the COACH initiative, we would have over 60,000 supporters – if that many people cannot make a difference, nothing will.

As blogged before (and I have heard this over and over again from my patients and readers), Canadians living with excess weight are paying the price – but clearly not for want of trying!

The solution to Canada’s obesity problem cannot be “shame and blame” or simply “eat less and move more”.

People struggling with excess weight already blame themselves – as illustrated in these quotes – most are desperate for credible, reliable, and non-judgemental help.

If you truly think that enough is enough – please show your support for the COACH initiative by forwarding this link to as many people you think may or should be interested. Remember, obesity not only affects the people who have excess weight – it affects their families, their friends, their colleagues, their employers, their communities – it affects us all.

COACH will be there to help – help COACH be there for the people you care about.

Click here to show your support now (and don’t be afraid to tell your story!)

Edmonton, Alberta