The American Medical Association (AMA) has made a claim…and we can’t help but to be a little concerned.
After much debate, the largest single group of doctors voted and finally labeled obesity as a disease.1
“We felt it’s time to take a stance and say we’re going to identify this as a disease,” said AMA Chairman Dr. Douglas Martin.
It took them long enough to address the situation. But will it do more harm than good?
Obesity has been on the rise. The CDC has ranked it as the number one health risk in America. And it costs the nation over $147 billion each year.2
|When losing weight, be patient. It’s not a race. If you are obese, losing just five to ten percent of your body weight you make a huge impact on your health. That could easily be just 12 to 25 pounds depending on your weight. And people who lose slowly and constantly tend to be more successful at losing the weight and keeping it off.|
In 2008 the Obesity Society officially issued its support for classifying obesity as a disease.3 And prior to that, the IRS said obesity treatments qualified for tax write offs. Even Medicare changed its tune in 2004.
And now the AMA’s decision is definitely making waves.
In fact, you may just notice a difference at your next doctor’s appointment…
“Recognizing obesity as a disease will help change the way the medical community tackles this complex issue that affects approximately one in three Americans,” said AMA board member Dr. Patrice Harris.
That’s what concerns us. Pharmaceutical companies and doctors are always quick to hand out prescriptions when treating “diseases.” Now, with obesity being called a disease, how are they going to treat it? With surgery? Or with one of the two new obesity drugs—Qsymia and Belviq?
Look at diabetes. It’s a disease and doctors have begun pushing gastric bypass as a solution.4 Is the same going to happen in regards to how obesity is treated? We sure hope not. But let’s be honest, that’s probably exactly what will happen.
The AMA doesn’t have legal authority. But they do have clout. Insurance companies are going to be more apt to offer coverage for bariatric surgery or weight-loss drugs.
If the insurance companies are going to pay for these “solutions” then of course the doctor will recommend them. It will be a quick, easy fix and they get their pay cut…never mind the risks and effects.
If the medical mainstream is going to start calling obesity a disease, then they need to be responsible about how they treat it.
The AMA’s decision will hopefully raise awareness. We just hope it’s the right kind of awareness.
When it comes down to it, does it really matter if you want to call obesity a disease, condition, or anything else? Stay active. Eat healthy. Exercise. Use common sense. No, it’s not always easy. But it’s certainly worth it.
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