I’ve personally struggled with weight, so I felt a little intimidated
when I took on a role in obesity communications at Novo Nordisk. How
could I help people understand what I and others have been through? If
only there were people willing to share their stories of what it’s
like to live with obesity.
Luckily, we found those people, and today they’re our Novo Nordisk
Obesity Patient Ambassadors.
At our first Ambassador meeting, we entered the room as strangers
and left with a real, lasting bond. We helped each other understand
that obesity isn’t a life
choice or simply about willpower; that people with
obesity deserve care.
These ambassadors are real people with a real disease
and a real passion for challenging stigma and breaking down
barriers to effective obesity care. I remember watching proudly as Tom
Coonley, a retired insurance executive, stood on stage in Washington
DC in his beige three piece suit, in front of a 250-strong audience,
and shared his story, advocating for access to treatment for patients
like him. And I was honored when he invited me to meet his support
system, his wife Sally and granddaughter Courtney, near his hometown
of Littleton, Colorado.
There are hundreds of moments we’ve shared, and over the years, Tom
and the rest of our ambassadors have not only changed my views on
obesity, but given me a sense of purpose. They inspired me to pursue
an obesity-related PhD in Health Communication, and encouraged me to
do all I can to change perspectives, and work to make change happen at
every level, even when it comes to federal policies.
I’m grateful to know this group of people, and let our collective
voices be heard. Especially this week, as it’s National Obesity Care
Week, a movement that aims to change the way society thinks about
obesity. Be part of the solution: use
person-first language, call out stigma and bias when you see it,
and visit obesitycareweek.org to make