You already know that being obese can increase your risk of disease, but now crossing the line from overweight to obese will actually be considered a disease in and of itself:Ã‚Â Yesterday, the American Medical Association (AMA) voted at its annual meeting to classifyÃ‚Â obesity as "a disease that requiresÃ‚Â a range of medical interventions to advance treatment and prevention."
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Recognizing obesity as a disease will help change the way the medical community tackles this complex issue that affects approximately one in three Americans,Ã¢â‚¬Â AMA board member Patrice Harris, M.D., said in a statement. Ã¢â‚¬Å“The AMA is committed to improving health outcomes and is working to reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, which are often linked to obesity.Ã¢â‚¬Â
More than one-third of people in the U.S. are considered obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Obesity can be measured in various ways, including by skinfold thickness measurements (with calipers), underwater weighing, bioelectrical impedance, dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA), and isotope dilutionÃ¢â‚¬”but the most common way to gauge whether someone falls into the category is by calculating their BMI (anyone with a BMI of 30 or higher is classified as obese).
This change from the AMA could lead to better insurance coverage for health care related to obesity, a better definition of the disease, and eventually even a better treatment, saysÃ‚Â Stu Koman, president and CEO of Walden Behavioral Care, Ã‚Â a treatment facility specializing in eating disorders.
As part of other new policies adopted yesterday by the AMA, the organization also voted to:
-Oppose discrimination against individuals based on their genetic information
-Support public access to genetic data
-Support increased oversight of the pharmacy compounding industry
-Oppose the lifetime ban on blood donations for gay men
-Support programs to raise physician awareness of early HIV treatment
-Support banning the marketing and sales of energy drinks to people under the age of 18
-Recognize the potential health risks of prolonged sitting and encourage alternatives
-Support permitting sunscreen in schools (right now, laws in many states don't allow this because it's considered an OTC drug)
-Provide resources to physicians to help them effectively use computers and electronic health records in interactions with patients