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Group Discussion
Teens & Young Adults

You are welcome here

You may have found this page because you are a young person concerned about your behaviour around food or you are an OA member seeking ways to reach out to young people interested in OA. Tradition 3: ” The only requirement for OA membership is a desire to stop eating compulsively.” In the spirit of this Tradition, compulsive eaters of any age, young or old, are welcome to seek help in OA.


If you have a problem with food, give yourself the quick quiz below. Be honest — you’re doing this for YOU!


Do you eat as a response to all kinds of feelings — highs, lows and in-betweens?


 Does your overeating make you miserable?


 Do your eating habits interfere with your social life; or does your social life revolve around food?


Do you eat normally in front of others and binge when you’re alone?


Do you drift off in class because you’re thinking about food or losing weight?


Do you hate gym and other activities because of your weight?


Do you spend more than you would like to on junk food?


Do you sometimes steal food — or money to buy it?


Do you pass up dances and other events because you can’t fit into nice clothes?


Do you resent people’s comments and “helpful suggestions” about your weight or the amount of food you eat?

If your answer to most of these questions is yes, you’re not alone. Many people, including teenagers, suffer from the disease of compulsive eating — a disease from which we can recover.

How did OA start?

The idea of OA came to cofounder Rozanne S. at a Gamblers Anonymous (GA) meeting she attended with a compulsive gambling friend in 1958. As GA members shared their stories, she heard her story-not of gambling, but of compulsive overeating. She knew then that the Twelve-Step and Twelve-Tradition program founded by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and modelled by GA offered her a chance to change her life and reduce her 152-pound body to a size that would fit her 5-foot-2-inch frame. Not until 1960, when her weight had increased to 161 pounds, could she find other people who shared her convictions. Her chance meeting with a new neighbour, Jo S., gave Rozanne strength in numbers, even if it was only one person. Together they found another compulsive overeater, Bernice S., and convened the first OA meeting in Hollywood, California, January 19, 1960. Today, about 6,500 OA groups meet each week in over 65 countries. With OA divided into 10 regions worldwide and approximately 400 intergroups, it helps thousands of compulsive overeaters find themselves through a threefold recovery: physical, emotional and spiritual. (For more on OA’s history, read Beyond Our Wildest Dreams.

I’m anorexic/bulimic. Will OA help me?

OA is a Twelve-Step recovery program primarily for the disorder of compulsive eating. OA welcomes anyone who has the desire to stop eating compulsively. Many compulsive overeaters have had periods of bulimia and/or anorexia as a part of the disease of compulsive overeating.

More Information

Go to the Meetings List to find meetings in your area; to Online Meetings to search for online meetings; or to Podcasts to listen to personal stories of people in recovery. If you have more questions, you might find the answers on our How it Works or FAQ pages. We can also mail you out some brochures, just email us at and put “Information for Teens” in the subject line.

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