After Losing More Than 100 Pounds, Ali Shares Her Fight with Obesity to Educate Others about the Emotional and Physical Impact of the Disease

Irvine, CA - [May 22, 2007] / PRNewswire / – Khaliah Ali, fashion designer, author and daughter of former heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali, experienced a life-changing "moment of truth" the year after her son was born. At 335 pounds, more than 100 pounds heavier than her father's best fighting weight, Ali feared her battle with weight would prevent her from seeing her son grow up. Like others who are more than 100 pounds overweight, this "moment of truth" drove Ali to recognize the severity of her fight with obesity and seek a solution.

Now more than 100 pounds lighter, Ali has teamed up with ObesityHelp, a leading resource for obese individuals, and Allergan, Inc., the makers of the
LAP-BAND® Adjustable Gastric Banding System for the "Moment of Truth" obesity health education campaign. This campaign aims to help the millions of individuals who are more than 100 pounds overweight recognize the physical and emotional impact obesity has on their lives and motivate them to engage in discussions with their healthcare professionals about appropriate, safe and effective weight-loss solutions.

"It took me more than 30 years to reach my 'moment of truth' and realize the impact obesity had on my life both physically and emotionally. Until then, I was constantly fighting my weight, trapped in an endless cycle of diets and exercise, and humiliated by the misperception of others that I simply lacked will power," states Ali. "No matter how hard I tried, I was losing the fight against obesity and feeling a deep sense of shame and helplessness. I truly felt like a part of me was dying inside."

Ali is not alone in her fight, as obesity continues to be a growing national epidemic. In the United States, approximately 60 million adults are obese and 9 million are severely obese.1 This chronic disease is caused by any one or a combination of environmental (social and cultural), genetic, physiologic, metabolic, behavioral and psychological factors and in 2000 cost this country an estimated $117 billion in direct and indirect costs.2,3,4 Unfortunately, these costs are not expected to decrease anytime soon. A RAND study, recently published in Public Health, analyzed data collected between 1986 and 2005 in the United States from a household telephone survey. The results showed that the prevalence of individuals with a self-reported Body Mass Index (BMI) over 30 (classified as obese) increased by 24 percent between 2000 and 2005, but the prevalence of those with a self-reported BMI over 40 (classified as morbidly obese) increased by 50 percent.5 In addition, people who are significantly overweight or obese face serious health consequences, including increased risk for Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, sleep apnea and premature death.1,6

Like Ali, many individuals cycle through ineffective diets and despite consistent efforts to lose weight, many struggle for years or sometimes a lifetime with obesity. In 2004, tipping the scales at more than 270 pounds, Ali fought back with the help of the LAP-BAND® System procedure, the only FDA-approved adjustable gastric band for use in weight reduction for severely obese adults, and ended her battle with obesity.

"I now have the tool I need to win my fight against obesity and achieve sustained weight loss," states Ali. "By sharing my journey, it is my hope to help others reach their own 'moment of truth' and see the possibility of life without obesity."

While obesity is now recognized by leading government health authorities, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and National Institutes of Health (NIH), as a disease, unfortunately, treating this disease remains a challenge.7,8 The NIH has reported that people in weight-loss programs lose only about 10 percent of their body weight and gain most of it back within five years.9 For people who are morbidly obese, or more than 100 pounds overweight, weight-loss surgery has become a clinically-accepted effective treatment option for long-term weight control.10 According to a report published by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, data strongly supports surgical treatment as a superior option for weight loss and to help control co-morbidities associated with excess weight, like Type 2 diabetes and hypertension, in morbidly obese patients.11,12

"Obesity is the greatest national health issue facing this country; yet, there is a tremendous lack of knowledge among the obese and primary care physicians about safe and effective weight-loss options," said George Fielding, M.D., Associate Professor of Surgery at New York University School of Medicine and Ali's surgeon. "It's critical that those fighting the battle with obesity understand the fight is not hopeless and proactively speak with their doctor about a weight-loss treatment that will work for them. Obesity is a disease and needs to be identified as such by both the medical and patient communities."

"Many ObesityHelp community members share the experiences Khaliah highlights in her moment of truth and weight-loss journey," said Eric Klein, founder of ObesityHelp. "A vicious cycle of unsuccessful dieting very often leaves many individuals feeling helpless. It is our hope that this campaign will help the millions of individuals struggling and living a life compromised by obesity to identify their pivotal moment, and begin their journey to find a solution."

Consistent with the Prochaska and DiClemente's behavioral change model, a "moment of truth" experience, such as having a child or the humiliation of not fitting into a restaurant chair, often triggers individuals to take action to overcome obesity. In an effort to help others identify their personal turning point and assist them in finding a solution, the "Moment of Truth" self-assessment tool was developed. To learn more about Khaliah's story, the "Moment of Truth" campaign and to access the self-assessment tool, go to

About ObesityHelp, Inc.

ObesityHelp is a leading resource dedicated to the education, empowerment and support of all individuals affected by obesity, along with their families, friends, employers, surgeons and physicians. ObesityHelp provides a comprehensive program of support and education as well as assistance in locating whatever resources it takes to overcome this life-threatening condition. The organization has an active community that communicates online through its Web site at and through a regular program of conferences and workshops conducted around the country.

The "Moment of Truth" campaign is an educational initiative, sponsored by Allergan, Inc.

NOTE: As with any surgery, there are possible risks and complications with the LAP-BAND® System, including but not limited to infection, nausea, vomiting, band slippage and obstruction, and in rare cases, gastric perforation and reoperation. You can find more risk information by visiting or by calling 1-877-LAP-BAND.

® 2007 Allergan, Inc. Irvine, CA 92612. ® and marks owned by Allergan, Inc.

1 American Obesity Association. AOA Fact Sheets. Health effects of obesity. Available at

2 American Obesity Association. Obesity Surgery. Available at Accessed 1/18/07

3 CDC. Diseases and Conditions. Available at Accessed 3/9/07.

4 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Surgeon General's Call To Action To Prevent and Decrease Overweight and Obesity in 2001. Accessed 2/23/07

5 Sturm R. Increases in morbid obesity in the USA: 2000-2005. Public Health (2007), doi:10.1016/j.puhe.2007.01.006

6 Ahroni JH, Montgomery KF, Watkins BM. Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Banding: Weight Loss, Co-morbidities, Medication Usage and Quality of Life at One Year," Obesity Surgery 2005; 15:641-647.

7 CDC. Diseases and Conditions. Available at Accessed 3/9/07.

8 American Obesity Association. AOA Fact Sheets. Available at Accessed 1/18/07.

9 NIH Technology Assessment Conference Panel. Methods for voluntary weight loss and control. Ann Intern Med 1993; 119 (7 pt 2):764

10 American Obesity Association. AOA Fact Sheets. Health effects of obesity. Available at

11 Shekelle PG, Morton SC, Maglione M, Suttorp M, Tu W, Li Z, Maggard M, Mojica WA, Shugarman L, Solomon V. Pharmacological and Surgical Treatment of Obesity., Evidence Report/Technology Assessment No. 103. (Prepared by the Southern California-RAND Evidence-based Practice Center, under Contract No. 290-02-0003.) AHRQ Publication No. 04-E028-1. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. July 2004.

12 Muscelli E, Mingrone G, Camastra S et al. Differential effect of weight loss on insulin resistance in surgically treated obese patients. Am J Med 2005; 118: 51-7.

Contact Info

Maureen Ranney
Chandler Chicco Agency
310-309-1000 or 212-229-8470

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