Session Title: Poster Discussions B
Category: Psycho-social and peer support
Presentation Date: Saturday, November 08, 2008
40 YEARS OF ALCO, ONE OF THE LARGEST SELF-HELP ORGANIZATIONS FOR THE OBESE POPULATION
A. Cormillot, A. Cormillot, S. Alessandrello
Clinica de Nutricion y Salud Dr. Cormillot, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Introduction: Obesity is increasingly considered a chronic disease. As such, therapeutic education is regarded as essential part of long term maintenance. Stunkard and others have identified self-help groups as effective alternatives for such continuous care, and often one of the few options affordable for many people.
Founded in Argentina in 1967, ALCO (Spanish acronym for Anonymous Fighters against Obesity) is one of the largest non-profit obesity self-help organization worldwide.
Philosophy: The ALCO philosophy was originally inspired by Alcoholics Anonymous 12 step recovery program. In ALCO, members discusses diet, health care, quality of life, stress management and other issues related to obesity in regular group meetings. There are also special groups for families, children, hyper and superobese, eating disorders and physical activity. ALCO also organizes community based activities to create public awareness.
Training and support for therapeutic education: One of the most important features of ALCO is the continued training of their members. Groups are conducted by facilitators, members with positive successful experiences who receive up-to-date information, training and educational materials from a centralized transdisciplinary professional team specialized in obesity. For this purpose, regular meetings are scheduled weekly, monthly or bimonthly according to group locations. In turn, facilitators convey this information to their respective groups.
Facts and figures about ALCO: An estimated of over 4 million members in four decades of existence.
70.000 monthly participants from 6 years-old and upwards.
500 groups in Argentina and almost 70 in three different continents.
27 full-time employees, 12 health professionals and 2400 volunteers.