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Calling Obesity A "Disease" Sends Wrong Message, Doctor Argues

06/24/13

  05:19:29 pm, by MedBen5   , 270 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness, Health Plan Management

Calling Obesity A "Disease" Sends Wrong Message, Doctor Argues

David Katz, MD, Director of Yale University’s Prevention Research Center, says that the American Medical Association made a mistake in recognizing obesity as a disease:

“The notion that obesity is a disease will inevitably invite a reliance on pharmacotherapy and surgery to fix what is best addressed through improvements in the use of our feet and forks, and in our Farm Bill.

“Why is the medicalization of obesity concerning? Cost is an obvious factor. If obesity is a disease, some 80 percent of adults in the U.S. have it or its precursor: overweight. Legions of kids have it as well. Do we all need pharmacotherapy, and if so, for life? We might be inclined to say no, but wouldn’t we then be leaving a ‘disease’ untreated? Is that even ethical?

“On the other hand, if we are thinking lifelong pharmacotherapy for all, is that really the solution to such problems as food deserts? We know that poverty and limited access to high quality food are associated with increased obesity rates. So do we skip right past concerns about access to produce and just make sure everyone has access to a pharmacy? Instead of helping people on SNAP find and afford broccoli, do we just pay for their [weight loss drug] Belviq and bariatric surgery?

“If so, this, presumably, requires that everyone also have access to someone qualified to write a prescription or wield a scalpel in the first place, and insurance coverage to pay for it. We can’t expect people who can’t afford broccoli to buy their own Belviq, clearly.”

Read more at The Huffington Post.

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