American Medical Association votes to declare obesity a disease

first_imgWASHINGTON — The American Medical Association 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 almost 36 percent of adults and 12 percent 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 one-in-three 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.last_img

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