Published in September/October 2015 Issue             

Calling all budding Steven Spielbergs and Martin Scorseses. The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) is sponsoring "It Starts Now,” a national short film and video contest on obesity that will award winners up to $5,000 and a trip to Los Angeles for a premiere during ObesityWeek 2015.

Videos or films of five minutes or less are being sought that creatively inspire, motivate and educate the country about issues related to obesity. Submissions will be judged on originality, creativity, direction, content and thoughtfulness. Entries must be received by October 23, 2015. For instructions on how to enter, visit

ASMBS “Anyone 18 and older with a video camera or smartphone can submit their stories in any genre,” said John M. Morton, MD, MPH, president of the ASMBS. “We’re looking for videos or films that are inspirational or make people think differently about obesity.”

A grand prize of $5,000 will be presented in Los Angeles, CA during ObesityWeek 2015 (Nov. 2 to Nov. 7, 2015), the largest international event focused on the basic science, clinical application and prevention and treatment of obesity. The second place winner will receive $3,500 and two third place winners will get $1,500 each.

It Starts Now judges include Barry Zegel, Senior Vice President and General Manager, CBS Television City; Emmy Award-winning writer and producer, Perry Rein; journalist Dan Childs, managing editor, medical coverage, ABC News; screenplay writer of Remember the Titans, Gregory Allen Howard; Jamie Dukes, NFL Network commentator and former NFL player;
and Dr. Morton.

Videos or films should address the topic of obesity and can be of any genre including drama, documentary, animation, journalism, public service announcements, experimental or music videos. There is no fee for submission.

Some ideas for video and filmmakers to consider include:

  • What makes obesity a disease like cancer or
    heart disease
  • Treating Obesity as a Disease with counseling, medications, surgery
  • Obesity in America
  • The Health and Economic Consequences of Obesity
  • Obesity Affects Everyone
  • Obesity: Balancing Prevention and
    Treatment Strategies
  • Combatting weight stigma and discrimination
  • Life transformations and personal struggles and triumphs
  • Solutions to the obesity epidemic

The ASMBS seeks to build upon its previous motivational video, It Starts Today. This motivational video tells three stories from the perspectives of a nurse, military veteran and former NFL player. Watch it at

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports more than 72 million Americans have obesity and, according to the ASMBS, about 24 million have severe obesity. Individuals with a body mass index (BMI) greater than 30 have a 50 to 100 percent increased risk of premature death compared to healthy weight individuals, as well as an increased risk of developing more than 30 obesity-related diseases and conditions including Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers. In 2013, the American Medical Association (AMA) declared obesity a disease.