Basic Information about OA

The first Overeaters Anonymous (OA) meeting was held in 1960 in Los Angeles, California. Since that time OA has grown to over 7,500 meetings in over 75 countries.

OA is a Twelve-Step program patterned after Alcoholics Anonymous that offers recovery for those who suffer from compulsive eating. Compulsive overeaters, anorexics, bulimics, and compulsive exercisers all have found recovery in Overeaters Anonymous.

OA is not affiliated with any public, private organization or religious organization.

In OA, you will find members who are all sizes and stages of recovery; from newcomer to those that have not compulsively overeaten, binged, purged, starved, restricted, or compulsively exercised and have maintained a healthy weight for thirty years or more.

We have members that have lost 100 or more pounds and have maintained this loss for 30 years or more. Our membership includes men and women who, before coming to OA, binged and/or purged numerous times a day and haven’t practice that behavior on a daily basis for decades. We also have members that have restricted to the point of losing their periods to being hospitalized numerous times, who now from working the OA program have recovered and maintained a healthy weight and healthy behaviors for decades.

The only requirement for membership in OA is a desire to stop eating compulsively.

No membership dues or fees are required for participation in OA. The organization is self-supporting through members’ voluntary donations.

To Referring Health Care Professionals

The OA approach to compulsive eating is a resource which can enhance—not replace—existing programs for your patients or clients. Many of our members also see doctors, nutritionists, psychologists, trainers, acupuncturists, yoga instructors, etc. as part of their recovery plan.

Overeaters Anonymous does not concern itself with the medical aspects of obesity, anorexia, bulimia or compulsive exercising, but rather with the compulsive nature of overeating and other eating disorders.
OA believes that compulsive eating is a threefold disease: physical, emotional and spiritual, which, like alcoholism and drug abuse, can be arrested, but not cured. The OA approach to this problem is a resource which can enhance—not replace—your existing treatment programs for these patients.

Why Refer Members to OA?

Overeaters Anonymous is a proven program patterned after the Twelve-Step principles of Alcoholics Anonymous. Members have reached a healthy weight and maintained it by following this program of recovery. Because of our long experience of compulsive eating and recovery from compulsive eating, we are able to offer understanding and support for other compulsive eaters.

We strongly recommend that members seek the advice of medical and nutritional professionals for guidance for a plan of eating as well as guidance on a healthy weight range.

As a health care professional, you may also have clients or patients who are obese, overweight, underweight, or maintaining a healthy body weight, but they may still have issues around overeating, bingeing, grazing, bulimia, anorexia, or compulsive exercising.

Of your patients that have had some time of bariatric surgery (bypass, lap band, etc), some may still not be able to control their overeating or stop compulsively overeating.

Overeaters Anonymous offers hope and recovery to these individuals as well.

For more information about how Overeaters Anonymous in the San Francisco area can help your patients or clients: you are welcome to visit our Newcomers/Information meetings, one of our many daily meetings, email, or call (415) 779-OASF (6273).

If you would like us to mail or email you Meeting Lists and other free information about Overeaters Anonymous for your patients or clients, to present or have a booth at your health fair or conference, please also email us at

Newcomer Meetings for New OA Referrals

All OA meetings are open to anyone with a desire to stop eating compulsively, and some meetings in the San Francisco fellowship that cater specifically to people new to the program. If you want to recommend specific meetings for someone new to OA, feel free to point them in the direction of one of the meetings on our Meetings page.