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January 27, 1984

Overeaters Anonymous

JAMA. 1984;251(4):468-469. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03340280024013

To the Editor.—  The article entitled "Why Not Share the Secrets of Good Health?"1 prods me to suggest that physicians recommend Overeaters Anonymous (OA) to patients who suffer from compulsive overeating. While overweight persons are obviously likely candidates, there are also many normal-weight and underweight persons who use "tricks"— vomiting, dieting, fasting, laxatives, and so on—to stay thin and keep their overeating secret.Overeaters Anonymous uses exactly the same 12-step program of recovery as is used in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), substituting the words "food" and "compulsive overeating" for AA's "alcohol" and "alcoholism." Overeaters Anonymous is not a diet club. On the contrary, we talk about our feelings and attempt to change from within rather than focusing on diet and weight.There are no weigh-ins, no sign-in sheets, and no dues or fees. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop eating compulsively.For further information, physicians may look