Tag Archives: health

Obesity as a Disease

Apparently back in June, the American Medical Association officially recognized obesity as a disease.  This recognition now opens the doors for tax deductions for obesity treatments, more coverage from insurance for drugs and surgery to “treat” obesity and official diagnosis by your doctor.  Essentially, you could state you “have obesity” the same way one would say they have diabetes.

Can I be honest with you?  I’m really really torn about this.

The first reason that I’m torn is I’m not really sure how you diagnose someone as obese.  And I am certainly concerned that since our medical community tends to be reactive instead of preventative, treatments will not get to the root of the issue…which is different for everybody.  The article brings up the obvious problems with using BMI as a diagnosis tool.  Especially since there have been studies that show for different ethnic groups the actual numbers for BMI may need to shift IF the point of BMI is to indicate an unhealthy weight.  How long do you have to be obese before you are  diagnosed?  Do you have to have attempted legitimate lifestyle changes (monitored??  on your own??  for how long??) before you are diagnosed as obese?  If you are obese and you lose enough weight to be considered overweight or normal weight, are you in remission from being obese?  Using the word cured seems kind of weird to me for this one.

All those aside, the biggest reason – is this going to become the new “I’m just big boned” going forward?

Now, there are some very real benefits to this, the biggest one I see is that if a child is diagnosed as obese, it will force the parents to face some real facts since the cause for a child’s obesity is probably much different than that of me as a grown woman.  Perhaps it will help the push for better school lunches and bring back physical education in schools.

I also think that if we can all decide that the FIRST treatment for obesity will be diet and exercise and perhaps a therapy session then I’m okay with that.  Perhaps if someone can get insurance covered referrals to a nutritionist or heck, a personal trainer, then that will get them started to make some lifestyle changes.  And why a therapy session?  Because for some (many?) people, there are some things that need to be worked out before they can even embark on a lifestyle change.  Many people who were abused, were involved with a traumatic incident, or as a result of a divorce or death in the family gain weight.  And for these people, maybe they have to handle that before they can get mentally in a place where they can make these life changes.  Not everyone who is obese needs this, but some people do. And just throwing them into surgery or on a pill doesn’t fix the problem that got them to where they are in the first place and won’t help them maintain a healthy weight going forward.

I also think that for many people this will force them to face facts. I know MANY of us that weren’t really fully aware of how bad off we were until we lost weight or something bad medically happened to us or we hit rock bottom.  Maybe if we can really start the work before rock bottom happens then people won’t get so sick (type 2 diabetes, heart issues, ect).

I guess I am a little biased on this one – I have had a doctor throw a weight loss pill prescription at me (one of the worst doctors I have ever seen btw – who does that the first visit).  He didn’t do ANY blood work first nor did he even ask me if I was exercising or about my diet.  And it didn’t help me at all.  I really hope that isn’t what starts happening now.  If we really want to “cure” obesity in America – it has to be an attack on all sides.  Working on getting rid of food deserts, lowering the cost of fresh foods (come one – it’s kind of ridiculous that I can buy a value meal from McDonalds for the same cost as 2 lbs of non-organic grapes or apples), educating people on how to eat and exercise, and changing our culture to embrace healthier habits in general (to include the chronic stress that is praised in America that raises hormone levels and aids to weight gain).  If we think the treatment is only about prescription pads and scalpels….I’m not sure we will really see the actual trend change.

What are your thoughts?  This another one that gets me wound up – must be wind up Kim week 🙂