Tell us: Is obesity a disease?
Transforming Health | 07.01.13
Obesity has been cited as a contributing factor to approximately 100,000–400,000 deaths in the United States per year and has increased health care use and expenditures, costing society an estimated $117 billion in direct (preventive, diagnostic, and treatment services related to weight) and indirect (absenteeism, loss of future earnings due to premature death) costs.
This exceeds health-care costs associated with smoking or problem drinking and accounts for 6% to 12% of national health care expenditures in the United States. (source: Wikipedia)
Below is an animated map of the United States showing the prevalence of obesity from 1985-2010.
To address the obesity epidemic in our country, The American Medical Association (A.M.A.) has officially changed the designation of obesity from a "disorder" to a "disease." This move could be a game-changer in the way that physicians focus on the issue and how insurers pay for treatments.
Obesity costs our society an estimated $117 billion each year.
The goal of the decision is to bring obesity into focus, potentially increasing funding for research and public-health programs, and reforming the way that insurance companies pay for counseling programs, drugs, and surgery.
A.M.A. board member Dr. Patrice Harris, suggested that this new definition would help in the fight against Type 2 diabetes and heart disease, both which are linked to obesity.
She said, “Recognizing obesity as a disease will help change the way the medical community tackles this complex issue that affects approximately one in three Americans.”
Read more about this news in a recent New York Times article.
Tune in to Radio Smart Talk on July 8, for a discussion about what this change means, and why some people support it and others don't.
How do you feel about the A.M.A. designating obesity a disease? We'd like to hear from you. What is your reaction to the change and why? Has obesity affected your life or the life of someone close to you? Please share your answers using the form below. We may use some of your responses on air or online.
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