About OA

What is OA?

Overeaters Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women from all walks of life who meet in order to help solve a common problem – compulsive overeating. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop eating compulsively.

How did OA start?

In January 1960, three people living in Los Angeles, California, began meeting for the purpose of helping each other with their eating problems. They had tried everything else and failed. The program they followed was – and continues to be – patterned after the Alcoholics Anonymous program. From that first meeting, OA has grown until today there are thousands of meetings in the United States, Canada, and other countries throughout the world.

How do OA members lose weight and maintain their normal weight?

The concept of abstinence is the basis of OA’s program of recovery. By admitting inability to control compulsive overeating in the past, and abandoning the idea that all one needs to be able to eat normally is “a little willpower,” it becomes possible to abstain from overeating – one day at a time.

OA offers the newcomer support in dealing with both the physical and emotional symptoms of compulsive overeating. For weight loss, any medically approved eating plan is acceptable.

How is OA funded?

Overeaters Anonymous has no dues or fees for membership. It is entirely self-supporting through contributions. Most groups “pass the basket” at meetings to cover expenses. OA does not solicit or accept outside contributions.

Why is OA “anonymous”?

Anonymity allows the fellowship to govern itself through principles rather than personalities. Social and economic status has no relevance in OA; we are all compulsive overeaters. Anonymity at the level of press, radio, television, and other media of communication provides assurance that OA membership will not be disclosed.

Is OA a religious organization?

Overeaters Anonymous has no religious requirement, affiliation, or orientation. The twelve-step program of recovery is considered “spiritual” because it deals with inner change. OA has members of many different religious beliefs as well as some atheists and agnostics.