Obesity Advocacy

Obesity is the leading risk factor for type 2 diabetes and the lack of access to care and treatment puts our communities at risk. We are fighting for change. Find out what we’re doing and how you can join us. 

Group of people standing in a row

At the American Diabetes Association (ADA), we recognize obesity as the chronic disease it is and are working to achieve access to obesity care and treatment to prevent type 2 diabetes and improve the health of those with or at risk of type 2 diabetes and prediabetes. The ADA is fighting to improve the lives of the millions of Americans affected by obesity and diabetes. Proven and effective interventions and programs exist to treat and manage the disease. But health insurance and federal and state programs do not allow access to these science-based treatments. 

We are advocating for person-centered care and treatment for obesity—including insurance coverage and access to nutrition programs and services, medications, and surgery—because most people lack access to these necessary services and medications to treat their disease and achieve better health.


Why advocate for obesity treatment access? 

The ADA’s Standards of Care in Diabetes defines obesity as a chronic disease. Grounded in science, we know its treatment should be taken as seriously as with other medical conditions (such as diabetes) and involves a multifaceted approach to support healthy lifestyles, medication, and surgery.

In America today, obesity:

  • Affects nearly 42% of the adult population, and overweight affects over 85% of people with type 2 diabetes
  • Accounts for up to 53% of new cases of type 2 diabetes every year
  • Is experienced by an increasing number of people with type 1 diabetes
  • Is linked to heart disease, stroke, certain types of cancers, fatty liver disease, osteoarthritis​ and psychosocial issues—which are among the leading causes of preventable, premature death

Obesity Treatment Areas

The following are what we are working towards in our fight to expand access to obesity care benefits: 

  • Expand access to and funding for diabetes prevention, research, and evidence-based support programs. 
  • Support access to medically appropriate healthy and nutritious foods and meals—especially for those with low incomes.
  • Support access to safe places to exercise
  • Improve access to person-centered treatment.
  • Eliminate burdensome requirements and barriers to access.
  • Ensure patient- and provider-centered choices for obesity programs and treatments are prioritized. 

How You Can Get Involved

Join us in our fight to improve access to person-centered obesity treatments! Your voice is a powerful tool when it’s used to speak up on behalf of the communities that need our help.

Advocating in U.S. Congress

We are calling for the expansion of access to comprehensive obesity benefits for older Americans who benefit from Medicare by advocating for the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act (TROA). This bill will expand the coverage of intensive behavioral therapy for Medicare beneficiaries and allow for the coverage of anti-obesity medications. 

Ask your Member of Congress to support TROA today!  


Man with microphone speaking to group

At the Local and State Level 

To expand access to comprehensive obesity benefits at the state level, we are focusing on state health care programs including Medicaid and state employee health plans.

Keep up to date on State Action Alerts. 

Wooden map of the united states

Share Your Story 

If you or a loved one are living with obesity or have been impacted by it, we want to hear from you. By sharing your story, you will help the ADA fight for access to the obesity treatments everyone living with it deserves. And you’ll know you’re helping others understand they’re not alone in the fight.   

Share your story

Thank You to Our Partners

ADA is pleased to be partnering to fight for access to person-centered treatment for the chronic disease of obesity.