American Medical Association now classifies obesity as a disease

In June 2013, the American Medical Association addressed the more than one-third obese Americans as an epidemic by classifying obesity as a disease.

America has an obesity problem in June 2013, the American Medical Association (AMA) officially classified obesity as a disease which requires medical treatment and prevention.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over one-third of U.S. adults (over 72 million people) and 17 percent of U.S. children are considered obese. A 2011 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) report indicates that over 30 percent of Michigan adults are considered obese. Studies are also showing that obesity rates continue to climb.

The health effects of being overweight or obese can increase your chances of developing certain health conditions, including:

  • Heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Cancer
  • High cholesterol
  • Liver and gallbladder disease
  • Sleep apnea and respiratory problems
  • Arthritis

What does it mean now that the AMA has designated obesity as a disease?

AMA board member, Dr. Patrice Harris, stated, “Recognizing obesity as a disease will help change the way the medical community tackles this complex issue that affects approximately one in three Americans.”

The AMA also made the following statements on the issue:

“More widespread recognition of obesity as a disease could result in greater investments by the government and the private sector to develop and reimburse obesity treatments.”

“Employers may be required to cover obesity treatments for their employees and may be less able to discriminate on the basis of body weight.”

Michigan State University Extension recommends that you consult your doctor if you are overweight or obese so that your risk factors can be assessed and you can be given guidance on how to begin the process of losing weight through diet and exercise.

For more information on adult obesity, visit:

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