Should Obesity Be Considered a Disease? Some thoughts from Dr. Modlin on the recent AMA classification of Obesity as a Disease

This topic on obesity has developed over the years into a highly controversial and debated subject. On one side of the argument, some healthcare officials argue that people who are overweight typically have more health risks and diseases than thin people, and they argue therefore that obesity should be classified as a disease. The AMA (American Medical Association) recognizes that it is a disease. However, their claim is not based on fact or research for long term effects. It’s important to note that there is not a single study that proves this. They also ignore the fact that many obese people never develop these issues and plenty of thin people have them. And here is where the main problem arises, since healthcare and medicine are sciences, all claims made under their divisions should be fact based and must be absolute.

These predetermined “molds” so to speak, which group large amounts of people into obesity, take away the individual diagnosis that other diseases have. Not only does this practice of looking only at height and weight to determine if someone is diagnosed with obesity take away the personal treatments that hospitals and physicians strive to give, it also leaves room for error and doubt. The “disease” is a body size, the “cure” is to change the body size and nobody has to take any health measurements at all.

The primary goal for all patients with obesity is to encourage all of them to upkeep or obtain a health lifestyle in their diets and exercise. While, pills and surgery are good in theory, they have not proven that they are effective in long term application. Surgery, for example, has an extremely high rate for weight regain and increases a person’s chance of dying up to 700% in the first year alone.

Like many other diseases in which a patient can be cured in a couple of days or a few weeks, however, obesity can only be diminished if someone’s whole lifestyle changes. This contributes to the argument that it is not a disease, since you don’t necessarily treat it like other diseases.

This argument over whether or not obesity is a disease is problematic because on one hand if you believe it is a disease, then you take away the sense of responsibility and ownership of the individual of his/her own health. On the other hand, if you think it isn’t a disease, the necessary stress on the importance of one’s body health could easily be neglected. With obesity you are more prone to diseases but do not necessarily have them.


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One Response to Should Obesity Be Considered a Disease? Some thoughts from Dr. Modlin on the recent AMA classification of Obesity as a Disease

  1. Pingback: Improving care: Treating obese patients with compassion and dignity | IIR Healthcare

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