American Medical Association declares obesity to be a disease

AMA 2013

News - June 25, 2013

At the American Medical Association (AMA) 2013 Annual Meeting, physicians voted to label obesity as a disease that requires a range of interventions to advance treatment and prevention. This outcome was not reached without a debate.

Some argue that obesity is a pathophysiologic disease, for which a treatment exists, involving behavioural modifications, medications, and surgeons.
Others acknowledge that it is an epidemic, but point out that obesity does not meet the criteria for disease. Body-mass index is an imperfect measure, used to determine obesity. Consequently, people who are otherwise healthy are being diagnosed as obese. Why would people be diagnosed as having a disease, if they aren’t necessarily sick, the against-voters claim.

Obesity is defined as BMI of 30 or higher. Obesity-related conditions, including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers, are some of the leading causes of preventable death. ”Recognizing obesity as a disease will help change the way the medical community tackles this complex issue that affects approximately one in three Americans,” said AMA board member Patrice Harris, M.D.

The AMA also adopted a policy that supports banning the marketing and sale of high-energy drinks to anyone younger than 18 years.

Source: Press release AMA

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