Common questions asked by loved ones

Overeaters Anonymous Silicon Valley is here to help the still suffering compulsive eater. If someone you know and love is struggling with compulsive eating and/or compulsive food behaviors, you have come to the right place. Here are some common questions about our disease and responses to those questions.

I am concerned about my child/spouse/friend … what can I do?

Please fill out the contact form, so we can send you a free packet of information, including the pamphlet To the Family of the Compulsive Eater. This information may help you understand compulsive eating as a disease and its effects on your loved one. If this person has not already found Overeaters Anonymous (OA), it could also help bring them into the program. Your loved one is lucky to you have you in their life.

Can OA refer me to professional help for my family member?

As a Twelve-Step program, we must adhere to certain Traditions. One prohibits us from affiliating with or endorsing an outside organization, so we are unable to refer you to anyone outside OA. The OA program has helped tens of thousands of compulsive eaters globally for more than 60 years. If your family member would like to attend a meeting, they will be welcomed and supported there. They can click here to find a meeting.

Are there OA meetings for teens?

In most OA meetings, you will find a room (an online meeting, phone meeting, or non-real-time meeting) full of adults. There are a few meetings designed especially for teens, however, all ages are welcome at any meeting (we can’t say that enough!). In meetings, members will share about their disease and the solution they have found in OA. We suggest that anyone under 18 be accompanied by a parent or other adult.

What should I do next?

Search for face-to-face or online meetings in our area, or if you would like further help you may give us a call at (408) 940-6278 or send an email to Please allow up to 48 hours for a reply, though often the call or email is returned within the hour. 

If you are not within Santa Clara county and prefer to attend a face-to-face meeting, please visit: to find meetings in your local area.

How can I help my pre-teen child who struggles with weight?

A desire to stop eating compulsively sounds simple, but we have learned that there are light-years of difference between wanting to change weight or eat normally and being able to surrender to achieve these goals. 

The true “desire to stop eating compulsively” usually cannot be instilled in a child by a concerned adult or parents – no matter how lovingly and tenderly they try. The willingness to do so must come from within. This may take years of painful experience of trying to stop on one’s own. Younger people are also often dealing with peer pressure, which can make it more difficult for them to follow a food plan. 

If you are not an OA member, attending an OA meeting to learn about the solution offered in OA can be helpful. If you are an OA member, it may be helpful for you and your child to attend a face-to-face meeting together. 

We suggest that young people under the age of 18 be accompanied by a responsible adult if they wish to attend a face-to-face or online OA meeting. Please note that a few meetings outside of Santa Clara County may have a minimum age requirement.

If you are uncertain and would simply like to know more about OA, then please go to Get Started for further details, call us at (408) 940-6278, or send us an email at:

Would you please send my family member or friend information on OA?

In order to respect OA’s Principles of “anonymity” and “attraction rather than promotion,” we cannot send material to anyone other than the party making the request. For this reason, we are unable to mail anything to your friend or family member.

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