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AMA Recognizes Obesity As A Disease (UPDATED)

06/17/13

  03:45:17 pm, by MedBen5   , 273 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness, Health Plan Management

AMA Recognizes Obesity As A Disease (UPDATED)

With two-thirds of US adults defined as overweight or obese, The American Medical Association is considering whether to recognize obesity as a disease, Forbes reports.

The potential classification has already created debate. “More widespread recognition of obesity as a disease could result in greater investment by government and the private sector to develop and reimburse obesity treatment,” states the AMA’s Council on Science and Public Health.

Opponents counter that obesity results from personal choices and is not an illness. “We understand obesity as a condition and a risk factor for other diseases,” said Susan Pisano, spokeswoman for American’s Health Insurance Plans. “The important thing is to get programs and supports in place to address it, as health plans have done and are doing,”

The debate will continue during the AMA’s House of Delegates meeting, which will conclude on June 19. While the group does not have any legal authority, its delegates do have standing with many policymakers in Washington.

UPDATE (6/18/13): At the AMA’s annual meeting on Monday, the Council on Science and Public Health said that partly because obesity is hard to define, it cannot be classified as a disease. To do so could undermine prevention efforts and will do little to impact its treatment, according to a report issued by the council.

Read more at MedPage Today.

UPDATE 2 (6/19/13): Despite the Council’s recommendation, the AMA voted Tuesday to classify obesity as a disease, HealthDay News reports. “Recognizing obesity as a disease will help change the way the medical community tackles this complex issue that affects approximately one in three Americans,” AMA board member Dr. Patrice Harris said in a statement Tuesday.

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