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Thread: AMA declares obesity a disease...thoughts?

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    AMA declares obesity a disease...thoughts?

    http://articles.latimes.com/2013/jun...sease-20130619

    The move by the American Medical Assn. board means that one-third of adults and 17% of children in the U.S. have a medical condition that requires treatment.

    The American Medical Assn. voted Tuesday to classify obesity as a disease, a decision that should prompt doctors to get more aggressive about helping patients maintain a healthy weight.

    The American Medical Assn. voted Tuesday to declare obesity a disease, a move that effectively defines 78 million American adults and 12 million children as having a medical condition requiring treatment.

    The nation's leading physicians organization took the vote after debating whether the action would do more to help affected patients get useful treatment or would further stigmatize a condition with many causes and few easy fixes.

    In the end, members of the AMA's House of Delegates rejected cautionary advice from their own experts and extended the new status to a condition that affects more than one-third of adults and 17% of children in the United States.

    "Recognizing obesity as a disease will help change the way the medical community tackles this complex issue that affects approximately 1 in 3 Americans," said Dr. Patrice Harris, an AMA board member.

    Tuesday's vote is certain to step up pressure on health insurance companies to reimburse physicians for the time-consuming task of discussing obesity's health risks with patients whose body mass index exceeds 30. It should also encourage doctors to direct these patients to weight-loss programs and to monitor their often-fitful progress.

    The federally funded Medicare program, which insures an estimated 13 million obese Americans who are over 65 or disabled, already covers the costs of "intensive behavioral therapy" for obese patients, as well as bariatric surgery for those with additional health conditions. But coverage for such obesity treatments has been uneven among private insurers.

    Insurers who are members of the California Assn. of Health Plans cover many services to treat medical conditions associated with obesity, including bariatric surgery and diabetes, said President and Chief Executive Patrick Johnston.

    The AMA's decision essentially makes diagnosis and treatment of obesity a physician's professional obligation. As such, it should encourage primary care physicians to get over their discomfort about raising weight concerns with obese patients. Studies have found that more than half of obese patients have never been told by a medical professional they need to lose weight a result not only of some doctors' reluctance to offend but of their unwillingness to open a lengthy consultation for which they might not be reimbursed.

    Past AMA documents have referred to obesity as an "urgent chronic condition," a "major health concern" and a "complex disorder." The vote now lifts obesity above the status of a health condition, disorder or marker for heightened risk of disease as high cholesterol is for heart disease, for instance.

    "As things stand now, primary care physicians tend to look at obesity as a behavior problem," said Dr. Rexford Ahima of University of Pennsylvania's Institute for Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism. "This will force primary care physicians to address it, even if we don't have a cure for it."

    The new designation follows a steep 30-year climb in Americans' weight and growing public concern over the resulting tidal wave of expensive health problems. Treatment of such obesity-related illnesses as cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes and certain cancers drives up the nation's medical bill by more than $150 billion a year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    Projected increases in the obesity rate could boost that figure by an additional $550 billion over the next 20 years, a recent Duke University study concluded.

    In laying out the case for and against the redefinition of obesity, the AMA's Council on Science and Public Health argued that more widespread recognition of obesity as a disease "could result in greater investments by government and the private sector to develop and reimburse obesity treatments."

    The Food and Drug Administration, which has approved just two new prescription weight-loss medications since 1999, would probably face increased pressure to approve new obesity drugs, spurring new drug development and more widespread prescribing by physicians, the council noted.

    "The greater urgency a disease label confers" also might boost support for obesity-prevention programs such as physical education initiatives and reforms to school lunch, the council added. In addition, it speculated that "employers may be required to cover obesity treatments for their employees and may be less able to discriminate on the basis of body weight."

    But the council also said that making obesity a disease could deepen the stigma attached to being overweight and doom some patients to endless nagging even if they were otherwise healthy or had lost enough weight to improve their health.

    It might also shift the nation's focus too much toward expensive drug and surgical treatments and away from measures to encourage healthy diets and regular exercise, the council wrote in a background memo for AMA members.

    Dr. Daniel H. Bessesen, an endocrinologist and obesity expert at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, called the AMA's shift "a double-edged sword." Though the semantic change may reflect "a growing awareness that obesity is not someone's fault," he worried that "the term disease is stigmatizing, and people who are obese don't need more stigmatizing."
    Thoughts? Not really overtly political, but certainly could have ramifications on health care, as well as speaking to personal responsibility. "Its not your fault you're fat!"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brooklyn Jet View Post
    http://articles.latimes.com/2013/jun...sease-20130619



    Thoughts? Not really overtly political, but certainly could have ramifications on health care, as well as speaking to personal responsibility. "Its not your fault you're fat!"
    Not overtly political, but certainly agenda-driven. The pharmaceutical and insurance industry stand to benefit from this big-time. Big fail on the FDA's part for not taking a hard look at the food industry, either. Some of the stuff out there is flat-out poison for some, and it's all FDA approved.

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    I can't comment of the use of "disease" being appropriate or not, I'm far from a Doctor, and I already wonder about some of the language choices the Doc's use (for example, once had a multi-page debate over the use or the term "normal" to describe Homosexuality).

    But Obesity is serious Business.

    I know, absolutely know, it's going to kill me. Probably sooner rather than later.

    Yet I don't change to stop that outcome.


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    Lots of diseased people in this forum I'll outlive.

    where's the fun in that?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Churchill View Post
    I can't comment of the use of "disease" being appropriate or not, I'm far from a Doctor, and I already wonder about some of the language choices the Doc's use (for example, once had a multi-page debate over the use or the term "normal" to describe Homosexuality).

    But Obesity is serious Business.

    I know, absolutely know, it's going to kill me. Probably sooner rather than later.

    Yet I don't change to stop that outcome.

    Sounds like you are describing a slow suicide. Maybe obesity is also a mental disorder.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DDNYjets View Post
    Sounds like you are describing a slow suicide. Maybe obesity is also a mental disorder.
    Could be. Could be akin to addiction. Knowing something's not good for you and doing it anyway.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jetworks View Post
    Not overtly political, but certainly agenda-driven. The pharmaceutical and insurance industry stand to benefit from this big-time. Big fail on the FDA's part for not taking a hard look at the food industry, either. Some of the stuff out there is flat-out poison for some, and it's all FDA approved.
    Good point on the FDA. My wife and I have been trying to eat a "paleo"-esque type diet of late, trying to avoid a lot of that crap out there. Makes you realize how prevalent stuff is that's truly not good for you.

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    a disease is something you can catch. you cant catch a fat ass but man does coke and a pulled pork sangwich taste yummy

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jetworks View Post
    Not overtly political, but certainly agenda-driven. The pharmaceutical and insurance industry stand to benefit from this big-time. Big fail on the FDA's part for not taking a hard look at the food industry, either. Some of the stuff out there is flat-out poison for some, and it's all FDA approved.
    Actually, it sucks for insurers, who will now be pressured to cover diet pills, gym memberships, etc. as "treatment for disease"

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    Quote Originally Posted by dickkotite View Post
    a disease is something you can catch. you cant catch a fat ass but man does coke and a pulled pork sangwich taste yummy
    how do you catch cancer?

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    Quote Originally Posted by FF2 View Post
    how do you catch cancer?
    You can catch HPV, which can cause cancer. Not direct, but just one of the ways.

    But your point stands, not a good definition provided by dicky k. You can't catch Parkinson's, or a myriad of others, but it most certainly is a disease. As is alcoholism.

    I do believe obesity is a disease in cases where folks have a chemical imbalance in the brain that does not allow them to self-treat and/or their mind/body gets to a point where they need to be in that state. But that said, I also believe this to be a small fraction of those labelled with the term. Totally overdiagnosed. Some people are just weak, lazy, don't care, or some combination of the three. Just as some people are legitimate alcoholics, and some are just drunks.
    Last edited by JetPotato; 06-20-2013 at 09:54 PM.

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    AMA declares obesity a disease...thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by FF2 View Post
    how do you catch cancer?
    Ask Michael Douglas.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JetPotato View Post
    You can catch HPV, which can cause cancer. Not direct, but just one of the ways.

    But your point stands, not a good definition provided by dicky k. You can't catch Parkinson's, or a myriad of others, but it most certainly is a disease. As is alcoholism.

    I do believe obesity is a disease in cases where folks have a chemical imbalance in the brain that does not allow them to self-treat and/or their mind/body gets to a point where they need to be in that state. But that said, I also believe this to be a small fraction of those labelled with the term. Totally overdiagnosed. Some people are just weak, lazy, don't care, or some combination of the three. Just as some people are legitimate alcoholics, and some are just drunks.
    Of course, as I say this , I'm five bourbons deep.

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    Someone who eats cheeseburgers and fries all day, is 350 lbs and won't exercise doesn't have a disease they're just fat.

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    Quote Originally Posted by doggin94it View Post
    Actually, it sucks for insurers, who will now be pressured to cover diet pills, gym memberships, etc. as "treatment for disease"
    It's good for the economy!


    Signed,

    Dunkin Donuts

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    Quote Originally Posted by Churchill View Post
    I can't comment of the use of "disease" being appropriate or not, I'm far from a Doctor, and I already wonder about some of the language choices the Doc's use (for example, once had a multi-page debate over the use or the term "normal" to describe Homosexuality).

    But Obesity is serious Business.

    I know, absolutely know, it's going to kill me. Probably sooner rather than later.

    Yet I don't change to stop that outcome.

    I gave up coke.

    I gave up drinking.

    I gave up smoking.

    But give up my crappy food? I just simply can't do it. I'm guessing because it has no immediate adverse affects so it tricks the mind into thinking it can't be that bad. But make no mistake, it will be my downfall as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FF2 View Post
    I gave up coke.

    I gave up drinking.

    I gave up smoking.

    But give up my crappy food? I just simply can't do it.
    At one point in my very early twenties, due to a troika of personal tragedy, I reached a point where I was a "pass out in the gutter" drinker.

    Giving that up was vastly easier than giving up the food (and the sedentary lifestyle) that will eventually kill me.

    I find the "slow suicide" reference to be quite interesting, as suicide and metal illeness is certainly something that runs in my family, and somethign I've considered from time to time in my life.

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    [QUOTE=Brooklyn Jet;4914705Thoughts? Not really overtly political, but certainly could have ramifications on health care, as well as speaking to personal responsibility. "Its not your fault you're fat!"[/QUOTE]

    Whenever I felt I was a couple of pounds overweight I would look in the mirror, call myself a fat bastard and knock the extra pounds off in 2 to 3 weeks.

    Now that I know it's a disease I can look in the mirror make an appointment with the doc and go have a donut.

    It could have some benefit if obese people stop blaming themselves and go to the doctor or even if some people who think being overweight is a normal safe condition may make changes. My guess is the impact is very small and rich older fat people will be able to charge trips to the spa to Medicare.

    The last cruise I was on we had some rich fat people who came to diner on electric scoters paid for by Medicare.
    Last edited by Winstonbiggs; 06-21-2013 at 09:42 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Churchill View Post
    At one point in my very early twenties, due to a troika of personal tragedy, I reached a point where I was a "pass out in the gutter" drinker.

    Giving that up was vastly easier than giving up the food (and the sedentary lifestyle) that will eventually kill me.

    I find the "slow suicide" reference to be quite interesting, as suicide and metal illeness is certainly something that runs in my family, and somethign I've considered from time to time in my life.
    Not everyone who suffers personal tragedy becomes a fall down drunk, and family "history" doesn't make any condition a fait accompli.

    Life deals out enough sh!t hands, no need to deal yourself any more.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jungle Shift Jet View Post
    Not everyone who suffers personal tragedy becomes a fall down drunk
    Agreed.

    ...and family "history" doesn't make any condition a fait accompli.
    Agreed.

    Life deals out enough sh!t hands, no need to deal yourself any more.
    Agreed.

    And yet, so many of us do anyway.

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