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The American Medical Association Declares Obesity a Disease

The American Medical Association, during its annual meeting in Chicago, officially recognized obesity as a disease. This decision has significant implications, potentially leading to increased attention and healthcare measures to address the condition and its impact. Although a committee had initially recommended against this classification, delegates at the meeting voted in favor of labeling obesity as a disease. Dr. Patrice Harris, a member of the association’s board, stated that this acknowledgment would reshape how the medical community approaches the complex issue of obesity, which affects approximately one in three Americans.

Body scan of 250lb and 120lb woman side by side. (Airport scanners not expected to be this detailed)

The change in classification aims to combat obesity-related health problems, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease, and may enhance funding for obesity treatments, including drugs, surgery, and counseling. The debate over whether obesity should be classified as a disease has been ongoing, with differing opinions within the medical community. The decision aligns with the view that categorizing obesity as a disease reduces the stigma associated with it and acknowledges that some individuals may not have full control over their weight due to various factors.

While the Council on Science and Public Health had raised concerns about classifying obesity as a disease, citing flaws in using body mass index (BMI) as a measurement, the delegates favored the resolution.

They argued that recognizing obesity as a disease could lead to improved health outcomes, in contrast to the limitations of BMI in diagnosing obesity accurately. Critics of the change worried that it might result in more medication and costly surgeries rather than focusing on lifestyle changes for managing obesity.

In summary, the American Medical Association’s decision to classify obesity as a disease aims to address the complex issue and provide better healthcare resources and support for affected individuals. While the debate surrounding this classification continues, it represents a shift in perspective and emphasizes the importance of addressing obesity-related health concerns in the United States.

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