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The Nation Deserves an Obesity Bill of Rights

The National Consumers League and National Council on Aging are working with health leaders and obesity specialists to establish a set of rights that can empower people with obesity to receive effective treatment.

Why Now?

Obesity is a treatable chronic disease, just like diabetes and heart disease. Yet despite significant advances in the science of obesity and effective treatment options, only 10% of people with obesity get help
from medical professionals and as few as 2% are treated with new
anti-obesity medications.

A Bill of Rights will ensure that Americans living with obesity have the same respect, attention, and medical care for their disease as those
with other chronic conditions.

Untreated Obesity Affects Everyone


U.S. adults have obesity
Chronic diseases are worsened by living with obesity


Annual medical costs for obesity
Premature deaths per year

It Started with Town Halls

The movement for an Obesity Bill of Rights began with a July 2022 report, A New Patient-Centered Obesity Action Agenda, that called for codifying a set of rights that every person with obesity should have to get needed information and the best care.

But this effort should not happen in a vacuum. That’s why NCL and NCOA hosted a series of Healthy Weight Town Halls across the county as a first step. Involving adults living with obesity and the health professionals who serve them, the four town halls made real the large divide between what people with obesity experience and what clinicians provide – identifying the gaps where a fundamental set of rights will lead to improved care.

2023 Healthy Weight Town Hall Series

June 9 – Reseda, CA

ONEgeneration Senior Enrichment Center
Click Here for Summary

July 11 – Wilmington, DE

Wilmington Senior Center
Click Here for Summary

August 17 – Jackson, MS

New Horizon Church International
Click Here for Summary

August 22 – Oklahoma City, OK

The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center
Oklahoma Healthy Aging Initiative
Click Here for Summary

Countdown to the Bill of Rights

With the town halls as a guidepost, NCL and NCOA are now undertaking a thoughtful, research-driven process to finalize and release the Obesity Bill of Rights to the medical community and the public in January 2024.

Intended to incorporate the expertise and best thinking of leading experts in public health, chronic disease, and obesity, the process involves these steps:

1. Research

Assess published research and health-related bills of rights to determine what language, content, and guarantees are necessary for people with chronic conditions to receive timely, effective care.

2. Insights

Review the town hall discussions and prepare a summary report with key conclusions. This summary will be circulated to stakeholder organizations for their comments, observations, and recommendations.

3. Preliminary Draft

Use the research and town hall findings to prepare a preliminary draft of the bill of rights.

4. Expert Panel

Host a meeting of top experts to review the town hall findings, consider the implications for an Obesity Bill of Rights, and review the preliminary draft with feedback on ways to refine the document so it will drive meaningful change in obesity care.

5. Issue Bill of Rights

Revise the Obesity Bill of Rights, vet this version with expert panel members, and create the final document. Issue the final version to medical and public health organizations, treatment centers, and health educators.

Take Action

The purpose of the first-ever the Obesity Bill of Rights is to give the public the power to fight for better care for Americans with obesity.
There are many ways to get involved as an individual to educate, support, and advocate for individuals affected by obesity:

Start with Your Own Obesity Care Coverage

One of the best ways to advocate for better obesity care is to review your health insurance plan. The Obesity Action Coalition (OAC) has detailed information on what to look for and what to do if your plan restricts or excludes obesity treatment. Don’t throw up your hands because there are steps you can take.
Here is the link for more details:

Tell Congress to Expand Medicare to Cover Obesity Care

It is hard to believe but right now, Medicare does not cover all obesity treatments, which makes quality care unaffordable for many older adults. Bipartisan legislation called the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act (TROA) is being considered in both the House of Representatives and the Senate to address inequality in obesity care for Medicare beneficiaries and to reduce stigma and weight bias in the US. You can lend your voice to passage of this legislation by sending a letter to your Congressman and Senators.
Here is the link to find out how:

Take a Stand at the State Level

In many states, lawmakers are considering legislation or regulations that would expand obesity care for state workers or adult residents and/or protect people with overweight or obesity from weight-based discrimination, bias and stigma. More information on how you can help is available from the Obesity Action Coalition.
Here is the link to get involved:

We want to hear from you!

Share your story and/or give us ideas for ways the Obesity Bill of Rights can be a catalyst to improve quality obesity care.

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About NCL

National Consumers League
1701 K Street, NW, Suite 1200
Washington, DC 20006

T: (202) 835-3323