The American Medical Association has taken a tough new stand on obesity. They now classify it as a “disease” requiring medical treatment.
CBS News reporter Ryan Jaslow says the new definition is aimed at getting doctors to tackle obesity as if they were treating a disease instead of simply a “lifestyle condition” that should be changed.
The AMA issued a statement that 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.”
According the latest stats, more than 35 percent of U.S. adults and 17 percent of children and teens meet the criteria for obesity.
Multiple research studies have linked obesity to a variety of medical conditions. These include heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, stroke, liver disease, sleep apnea, breathing problems, osteoarthritis and joint pain, infertility, sexual side effects and cancers of the breast, colon, esophagus, pancreas and kidneys.
Also, this years’ "Annual Report on the Status of Cancer" found significant rises in obesity-related cancers over the past three decades.
So what does the new classification mean for obese people as patients?
Dr. Louis Arronne, obesity specialist at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, says it could have a tremendous impact on health care legislation in Washington and with insurance companies.
Bariatric surgeries including lap-band procedures or gastric bypass surgeries may now be covered by more insurers based on the AMA's new classification
There are also two recently-approved obesity drugs, Qsymia and Belviq, that can be prescribed to obese patients.
To learn more, go to the American Medical Association’s website and enter “obesity” in the search engine.
I’m Bill Maier for WBCL.