AMA Declares Obesity a Disease June 24, 2013
AMA Declares Obesity a Disease June 24, 2013

At their recent annual conference, the American Medical Association voted to declare obesity a disease.

Previously referred to as a major public health problem, this new definition of obesity essentially makes diagnosis and treatment of obesity a physician’s professional obligation.

With approximately 30% of adults (78 million) and 17% of kids (12 million) in the U.S. considered obese, the AMA hopes that this new definition will bring more attention to the obesity epidemic.

“Recognizing obesity as a disease will help change the way the medical community tackles this complex issue that affects approximately 1 in 3 Americans,” said Dr. Patrice Harris, an AMA board member.

This new disease classification should encourage primary care physicians to get over their discomfort about raising weight concerns with obese patients.

The AMA’s Council on Science and Public Health did argue that more widespread recognition of obesity as a disease “could result in greater investments by government and the private sector to develop and reimburse obesity treatments.”

It also said that making obesity a disease could deepen the stigma attached to being overweight and may also shift the nation’s focus too much towards expensive drugs and surgical treatments and away from measures to encourage healthy diets and regular exercise.

Sources:
AMA Adopts New Policies
AMA: Obesity Is A Disease
AMA declares obesity a disease

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