It Starts Now, a nationwide competition that seeks short videos and films about obesity in America, begins today. Entries are being sought that creatively inspire, motivate and/or educate the public about issues related to obesity. Submissions will be judged on originality, creativity, direction, production value, dignity, content and thoughtfulness.

A jury-awarded grand prize of $5,000 will be presented in Los Angeles, CA to the winner at ObesityWeek 2015, the largest international event focused on the basic science, clinical application and prevention and treatment of obesity. The second place winner receives $3,500 and two third place winners receive $1,500 each. Winning videos and films will premiere during ObesityWeek 2015, held Nov. 2 to Nov. 7, 2015. It Starts Now judges include those from the television and film industry, obesity and public health experts, patient advocacy and journalism. The contest is sponsored by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS).

“We’re looking for submissions with compelling narratives that bring new perspective, insight and strong voice to the prevention and treatment of obesity, the biggest health threat facing America,” said John M. Morton, MD, MPH, president of the ASMBS and director of the Bariatric and Metabolic Inter-Disciplinary (BMI) Clinic at Stanford Health. “We are present at the creation of a new paradigm in obesity treatment- we now have options that work. We are asking you to motivate, educate and inspire us as individuals and as a country to think differently and take action against this disease that is the source of so many other diseases and has such an impact on health, longevity and quality of life. We need everyone to help. We can’t afford to not intervene.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports more than 72 million Americans have obesity and, according to the ASMBS, about 24 million have severe obesity. Individuals with a body mass index (BMI) greater than 30 have a 50 to 100 percent increased risk of premature death compared to healthy weight individuals, as well as an increased risk of developing more than 30 obesity-related diseases and conditions including Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers. In 2013, the American Medical Association (AMA) declared obesity a disease.

Anyone 18 and older is eligible to submit videos or films of five minutes or less that address the topic of obesity in any genre, including drama, documentary, animation, journalism, public service announcements, experimental or music videos. There is no fee for submission. Entries must be received by midnight, October 1, 2015. For instructions on how to submit and terms and conditions, please visit

Some ideas for video and filmmakers to consider include:

• Unmet society needs
• What makes obesity a disease like cancer or heart disease
• Treating Obesity as a Disease with counseling, medications, surgery
• Obesity in America
• Cost of Obesity
• Obesity as a Family Disease
• Obesity: Balancing Prevention and Treatment Strategies
• Combatting weight stigma and discrimination
• Life transformations and personal struggles and triumphs
• Solutions to the obesity epidemic

The ASMBS seeks to build upon its previous motivational video, It Starts Today. This motivational video tells three stories from the perspectives of a nurse, military veteran and former NFL player. Watch it at

About the ASMBS
The ASMBS is the largest organization for bariatric surgeons in the nation. It is a non-profit organization that works to advance the art and science of bariatric surgery and is committed to educating medical professionals and the lay public about bariatric surgery as an option for the treatment of morbid obesity, as well as the associated risks and benefits. It encourages its members to investigate and discover new advances in obesity, while maintaining a steady exchange of experiences and ideas that may lead to improved outcomes for morbidly obese patients. For more information, visit

“It Starts Now” is sponsored by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS). It is very important that you understand and agree to the Terms and Conditions under which you are providing a submission, and under which your submission is being accepted by ASMBS.

Terms & Conditions

The film and video contest is open to individuals 18 and older residing in the United States.

You agree that you have complete authorization from all the actors portrayed in the submission to have both filmed them, and to submit such film to ASMBS for purposes of the contest and will provide ASMBS proof of such authorization upon request.

You agree that you will not include any proprietary commercial information in the submission. For example, no commercial product placements or advertisements will be in the video or film.

You agree that you are not in violation of a third party’s pre-existing rights to any aspect of the submission. For example, you cannot sell the video or film to a third party and then submit it to ASMBS as if it were your property.

You agree that upon ASMBS accepting your submission, the submission becomes the property of ASMBS.

Once the film submission becomes the property of ASMBS, ASMBS is free exclusively to utilize the film in furtherance of its mission to increase public understanding of obesity and advance the science of obesity-related medicine until 90 days following the announcement of the winning videos.

ASMBS in turn agrees that it will not edit your submission to change the submission’s intent or message, though you agree to minor, stylistic editing for continuity and quality.
ASMBS agrees that your submission will not be used for any purpose other than the furtherance of the public understanding of obesity and the science of obesity-related medicine.

ASMBS agrees that your submission will not be used for any for-profit purposes.

ASMBS agrees to your use of your submission, after ASMBS accepts it and takes ownership of it, on a limited, non-exclusive, royalty-free basis, but only after granting such permission to you in writing, 90 days after the announcement of the wining videos.

You agree that you will not in any manner attempt to use the submission after ASMBS accepts it and owns it, unless or until ASMBS agrees to such use, in writing.

You agree to indemnify and hold ASMBS harmless from any third-party claims, damages, or losses due to your use of the submitted film, both prior to submission to ASMBS and after.
ASMBS agrees to indemnify and hold you harmless from any third-party claims, damages, or losses due to ASMBS’s use of the submitted film.

You understand that your submission will not be returned to you from ASMBS after you submit it.

You understand that these Terms and Conditions apply to all copies of the submitted film, regardless of form, media or format.

You understand that these Terms and Conditions are a legal commitment and that they are enforceable by both you and ASMBS.


To enter the “It Starts Now” Film and Video Contest, you must be a registered member of Vimeo. Registration as a basic member of Vimeo is free.

Your video must be submitted, along with the completed application, using the Vimeo “E-mail” sharing function. Videos must be submitted to Videos will not be accepted by any other means.

Your submission must include the completed application below. This can be done by copying and pasting the form into the “message” section on Vimeo when submitting an entry via Vimeo email.

Your video must be password-protected and enabled for downloading. For more information on enabling these functions, please visit Vimeo’s Managing Your Videos section.

Contest Application

Copy and paste the following into the "message" section on Vimeo when submitting your video.

Title of Project:
Film Genre:
Shared Video Password:


Your Name:
Zip Code:


Film or Video Synopsis (50 words or less):

Director’s Statement including bio (100 words or less):