The American Medical Assn. classifies obesity as a disease. Are they out of touch or looking for another way to medicalize a lifestyle problem?
Obesity is a problem in the United States and other countries due to lifestyle, eating style and with more Americans living more sedentary lives, a problem that requires a change we must make within ourselves. Our plates have gotten bigger, and as the portions have grown, so have we. Years ago, most children played outdoors and now, many sit in front of a television or a video game console barely moving. We have made them afraid to get on their bicycles and go, yet, as children, most of us did this because it was our main source of transportation. It was also a great source of fitness.
By making this a disease by definition, we are paving the way to new drugs, expensive tests when the problem has to do with the way we live which needs to change. The NY times weighs in on this. I, as a health care consumer would be quite wary of this development, since it is poor health policy. While changing the way Americans eat and drink cannot be legislated (Are you listening Mayor Bloomberg), we need to make sedentary lifestyle unfashionable.
Check out the NY Times article here.
A.M.A. Recognizes Obesity as a Disease
Published: June 18, 2013
The American Medical Association has officially recognized obesity as a disease, a move that could induce physicians to pay more attention to the condition and spur more insurers to pay for treatments.
In making the decision, delegates at the association’s annual meeting in Chicago overrode a recommendation against doing so by a committee that had studied the matter.
“Recognizing obesity as a disease will help change the way the medical community tackles this complex issue that affects approximately one in three Americans,” Dr. Patrice Harris, a member of the association’s board, said in a statement. She suggested the new definition would help in the fight againstType 2 diabetes and heart disease, which are linked to obesity.
To some extent, the question of whether obesity is a disease or not is a semantic one, since there is not even a universally agreed upon definition of what constitutes a disease. And the A.M.A.’s decision has no legal authority.
Still, some doctors and obesity advocates said that having the nation’s largest physician group make the declaration would focus more attention on obesity. And it could help improve reimbursement for obesity drugs, surgery and counseling.