American Medical Association: ‘Obesity Is a Disease’
1 min. read
The American Medical Association (AMA) made headlines this week when a delegation of members declared obesity as a bona fide disease. For one in three Americans, this classification means they may eventually qualify for medical or surgical treatments for their obesity.
Until the decision by the AMA, many in the healthcare industry, including health insurance carriers, denied these therapies. Many believed that obesity was simply the result of overeating and lack of exercise.
With this ruling, though, proponents believe this is the first step to reducing the prevalence of obesity and co-existing health problems like heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
“The AMA’s recognition of obesity as a disease will help in the management of type 2 diabetes and heart disease,” said Anthony Gonzalez, M.D., a Baptist Health Medical Group surgeon and medical director of South Miami Hospital’s Weight-loss Surgery Program. “Now that the medical and surgical therapies for obesity, along with prescribed lifestyle changes, will be accepted by the medical community, the continued growth of obesity among Americans will be slowed and possibly reversed.”
Dr. Gonzalez says this ruling, while not immediately a game-changer in the fight against obesity, will allow doctors to treat the primary problem – obesity – instead of having to focus on the diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and other health issues related to being obese. He says the next step to removing barriers to treating obesity lies with lawmakers and insurance carriers, which must decide which criteria will be used to determine obesity and what therapies will be approved for treatment.
“We’re excited about this first step toward helping the patients we see everyday struggling with poor health, as a result of their obesity, but this is more of a conversation starter at this point than a change that will immediately affect how we practice medicine,” Dr. Gonzalez said.
Healthcare that Cares
Related StoriesView All Articles
September 24, 2018
2 min. read
Roundup: FDA Broadens Warnings Against Mixing Opioids With Anxiety Meds; Weight-Loss Surgery Can Have Long-term Benefits, Study Finds
September 2, 2016
3 min. read
November 13, 2015
2 min. read