Obesity labeled "disease" by AMA

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ClairesMommy's picture
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Obesity labeled "disease" by AMA

In order to fight what it described as an "obesity epidemic," the American Medical Association voted to recognize obesity as a disease and recommended a number of measures to fight it.

The association voted on the measure Tuesday at its annual meeting in Chicago. The AMA noted that obesity rates in the United States have "doubled among adults in the last twenty years and tripled among children in a single generation" and that the World Health Organization, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Internal Revenue Service already recognize the condition as a disease.

According to "F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America's Future 2012," a study released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in September last year, adult obesity rates in 2011 exceeded 30 per cent in 12 U.S. states. The study projected that "if rates continue to increase at the current pace, adult obesity rates could exceed 60 per cent in 13 states, and all states could have rates above 44 per cent by 2030."

Obesity is associated with a variety of diseases, including Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers. Rising obesity is expected to increase America's already high health care costs. The AMA's recommendations accompanying the vote included urging physicians and insurance companies to "recognize obesity as a complex disorder," encouraging national efforts to educate the public "about the health risks of being overweight and obese."

The AMA also recommended the creation "National Obesity Awareness Month" to highlight the benefits of exercise and to warn of the risks of obesity.

Obesity called a disease by U.S. doctors group - Health - CBC News

Opinions? Is obesity a disease like any other? Discuss the potential ramifications of this new classification.

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4114

You can add American Medical Association to the group that is losing its credibility.

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

I don't even know, but 60% OBESE in just a few years? Scary.

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

I don't even know, but 60% OBESE in just a few years? Scary.

Joined: 08/17/04
Posts: 2226

Not sure on my feelings towards this. However, having it included as a disease will help people get the right medical care without any obstruction. This can potentially increase insurance coverages if obesity was a non covered reason for medical services.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3311

I agree with Jessica. This one doesn't bother me as much as the caffeine addiction thing. I think because i see no need to classify caffeine addiction as a mental disorder, but I think there might be something beneficial to classifying obesity as a disease, even if i question if its technically true.

So...i don't know. Do i think its a disease? I don't think i do. Do i think its a condition that needs a lot of attention in our medical community? Absolutely. If the best way to do that is to classify it as a disease....well then maybe i'm okay with it.

Joined: 03/08/03
Posts: 3185

"Jessica80" wrote:

Not sure on my feelings towards this. However, having it included as a disease will help people get the right medical care without any obstruction. This can potentially increase insurance coverages if obesity was a non covered reason for medical services.

I thought that too -- it seems like a strategic move to help address it as opposed to some indulgent bit of caffeine nonsense.

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4114

"KimPossible" wrote:

I agree with Jessica. This one doesn't bother me as much as the caffeine addiction thing. I think because i see no need to classify caffeine addiction as a mental disorder, but I think there might be something beneficial to classifying obesity as a disease, even if i question if its technically true.

So...i don't know. Do i think its a disease? I don't think i do. Do i think its a condition that needs a lot of attention in our medical community? Absolutely. If the best way to do that is to classify it as a disease....well then maybe i'm okay with it.

Maybe obesity should be a mental disorder too Smile

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

"GloriaInTX" wrote:

Maybe obesity should be a mental disorder too Smile

That arguments already being made

Should Obesity Be Called a Mental Illness? | Psychology Today

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4114

Yep pretty soon no one will have to take responsibility for anything because they will be able to blame it on some disease or mental disorder.

Joined: 03/08/03
Posts: 3185

"GloriaInTX" wrote:

Yep pretty soon no one will have to take responsibility for anything because they will be able to blame it on some disease or mental disorder.

My husband would agree with you completely.

I think obesity is something that might benefit from being called a disease, though. People need help with it, so this might make that more accessible. Maybe it will help them take responsibility for fixing it, which is more important than taking responsibility for causing it. (I think that's part of the process anyway, recognizing how it happened.)

I agree that classifying random things as a mental disorder is NOT helpful!

Joined: 08/17/04
Posts: 2226

In this case though, it can help someone seek counseling for obesity related reasons. Maybe to identify over eating if that is what led to their obesity or if related to another disease...to work through that.

Agreed that I don't think it is a disease but is beneficial for care unlike the caffeine thing.

ClairesMommy's picture
Joined: 08/15/06
Posts: 2299

Maybe obesity's not like cancer, okay. But I don't think it's good for society and the medical profession to look down their noses at overweight people and be like "You got yourself that way so suffer the consequences." If it's regarded as a disease then maybe it will help with prevention and treatment. I don't think that there's going to be an increase in obesity just so people have the word 'disease' to hang their weight problems on. Nobody wants to be fat. Do I think obesity is technically a disease? I have trouble with that. I don't know. A condition, yes. But on the whole it makes no difference to me what word is used. Obese people need medical help, education and support. Maybe people don't want to pay for that, like through taxes or whatever. But with the rate at which obesity is growing I would think that the cost of care for other diseases that are secondary to obesity (like heart disease, diabetes, some cancers, etc.) would far eclipse that of obesity management and care.

mommytoMR.FACE's picture
Joined: 04/10/09
Posts: 780

Just because someone has a mental disorder (of course depending on what disorder) does not mean that they cannot help or control it. I don't agree with everyone not taking responsibility and blaming the "disorder." I'm fat. I bet if I went to a counselor who treated obese patients I would be classified as having a disease or mental disorder (compulsive eating or food addict or something), but I'm fat because I love food and I love sitting around and eating food. Fortunately, I can control it as I don't want to be fat anymore and that's why I've been going to the gym and watching my food intake. You can only be diagnosed with a disease if you look for a diagnosis and go to the right person, like the doctor or a psychologist, etc.

I really don't care what they want to classify obesity.