ASMBS, TOS and OAC Go to
the White House

Published in September/October 2015 Issue             

Representatives from the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS), The Obesity Society (TOS), Obesity Action Coalition (OAC) and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics went to the White House to visit Debra ďDebĒ Eschmeyer Executive Director of Letís Move! and Senior Policy Advisor for Nutrition Policy.

As Executive Director of Let's Move!, Eschmeyer will lead the First Ladyís work to help America raise a healthier generation of kids and ensure that all kids have the opportunity for the long, healthy lives they deserve. As Senior Policy Advisor for Nutrition Policy, she will also advise on food and nutrition issues beyond Letís Move!.

ASMBS President-Elect Dr. Raul Rosenthal briefed connect on the meeting. Dr. Rosenthal was there with Ted Kyle, Francesca Dea and Penny Gordon-Larsen from TOS, Joe Nadglowski from the OAC, and Jeanne Blankenship from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

What was discussed?

We discussed sound policies to prevent childhood obesity. As the ASMBS representative I touched upon who we are and what we do and explained the role of bariatric surgery.

I emphasized the importance of obesity treatment on parents and how that could result in prevention of childhood obesity. I explained recent publications about changing epigenetics through bariatric surgery performed on obese mothers resulting in decreased incidence of obesity on
their offspring.

In addition, we talked about the need to create awareness in the general population about obesity. I explained that the number one reason why patients do not seek treatment is denial, most likely triggered by the lack of knowledge.

What were your hopes for the meeting?

Create awareness at the policy level for what we do at ASMBS and emphasize the importance of treating the family as a whole in order to be more effective in preventing childhood obesity. It is not effective to implement healthy measures at school if the home environment is not a healthy one.

What do you think will come out of the meeting?

We hope that we will continue to have these kind of meetings with the office of the First Lady. Ms. Eschmeyer made a comment that the Letís Move! initiative will be continued by the First Lady after she leaves office. There will be a major event in February 2016 and she told us she will include our group in it.

What is the nature of the groupís efforts in relation to government?

Participate in developing sound policies to prevent and treat obesity.

What are the goals? What are the issues weíre trying to address?

As ASMBS representative I would like the government to understand the role of bariatric surgery in the spectrum of obesity treatment. They should learn about our safety and efficacy record and hopefully help us get coverage for the treatment of the disease of obesity in all 50 states.