Obesity as a Disease?? | AMA Council


Obesity is hard to define and diagnose, and partly because of that is not a disease

Apparently there are still groups out there that feel, and want to re-define, obesity as a disease????

I gasped when I read this article today. Really? Obesity as a disease?? Now we all have to go back to medical terminology 101 and re-learn the definitions of disease, condition, disorder, illness, etc. Is the current obesity epidemic going to be grossly affected by terminology people?

“I would like to move away from the tyranny of ‘Is it a condition or is it a disease?’ and simply define obesity as a chronic disease, combine public health and clinical approaches, and work to bend the weight curve in the U.S.”


You think that simply changing the definition we’ll start changing the way we treat and address obesity?


I for one think it’s ridiculous. To define obesity as a disease gives someone a fallback or a cop-out as to why their health is failing. Obesity didn’t nor does not ‘happen’ to you. You’re not born with it, you acquire it over time. Something that is entirely in your control. The severity of one’s obesity is determined by their own choices. Period.

Of course each person’s choices are different and some will be excessively tougher than others, but it’s still their choice. Obesity is not a disease. Sorry.

Those in support of the council report not calling obesity a disease noted obesity rates have risen along with sugar intake in diets and reduced activity — which are not indicative of a disease. If obesity is called a disease, they said employers would have to give obese workers special considerations.

“We cannot say just because you are obese you will experience harm and morbidity from this, and that is part of a definition of a disease,” said AMA public health council member Ilse Levin, DO, of the American Society of Addiction Medicine.

Defining obesity as a disease will do little to actually change treatment management, she continued. “In this case, I don’t really see how it will at this point.”

Changing the definition to a disease could have negative public health consequences and worsen the epidemic, others argued.

“I believe telling people they have a disease allows people to throw up their arms and surrender and do nothing,” Texas delegate Russ Kridel, MD, said.

Payers already recognize obesity as a serious medical condition and Medicare covers bariatric surgery, he said, noting that people with a BMI greater than 40 can be considered disabled if it’s called a disease.

 I’d love to hear your thoughts. Will re-defining obesity as a disease and not just a ‘condition’ change anything? Will it help beat this epidemic, or is it just another side-step? 

Via Obesity Not a Disease, AMA Council Says

Image Source: Google